New Jersey Legalized Recreational Marijuana Usage

Sports leagues continue to adjust to new drug laws.

New Jersey has become the latest state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and that could have an impact on the National Football League’s New York Giants and New York Jets, the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers and the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers as those teams practice in New Jersey. The NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the Major League Soccer’s Red Bulls franchise which has its stadium in Harrison, New Jersey. There are a number of minor league and independent league baseball teams in the state as well. There are also college programs throughout the state including Rutgers, St. Peter’s and Seton Hall on the Division I level down to the Division III level. With New Jersey becoming the latest state to approve pot usage, that could impact collective bargaining agreements as being caught with pot in New Jersey is not illegal. NFL players no longer face the possibility of being suspended from games over positive tests for any drug under the 2020 collective bargaining agreement but they could face a fine. But since the liberalization of marijuana laws, it appears sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association have taken a hands-off approach to marijuana usage.

College athletes under the age of 21 in New Jersey could get in trouble as only those 21 years and older will be able to buy marijuana from select dispensaries throughout the state. In February, the NCAA relaxed the amount of THC an athlete can have to trigger a positive test. The governing body of college sports in the United States recommended less severe penalties for athletes who do test positive for marijuana. It appears the last athlete who received a significant penalty for marijuana use was Sha’Carri Richardson who received suspension in 2021 and was banned from the Tokyo Olympics. The times, they are a changin.

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