The NFL Pot Policy, By The Numbers

Mj 618_348_the nfl pot policy by the numbers
Victor De Schwanberg / Getty Images

The NFL last updated their marijuana policy in 1987 and for several reasons — including an increasing acceptance for medical marijuana to treat injuries — many argue it’s long overdue. The League and the Players Association recently agreed on a proposed increase to the maximum threshold of marijuana needed to test positive on a drug test. Here are some numbers and impacts of the current policy.

15: Old threshold in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Players must show at least 15 ng/mL of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the marker of marijuana in urine or blood to test positive.

35: The proposed new threshold for NFL testing: 35 ng/mL.

48: The estimated amount of days that it will take for an daily pot smoker’s levels to drop below 50 ng/mL.

8: The amount of days a once-and-done smoker would take to drop below 50 ng/mL.

115: Difference in ng/mL between the NFL’s proposed threshold and that of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who set the Olympic drug-testing standard.

15: Difference in ng/mL between the new threshold and the NBA’s threshold for marijuana testing, which is capped at (a stricter) 15 ng/mL.

50: Estimated percentage of NFL players who smoke pot, at least according to former Lions lineman Lomas Brown and former Seahawk John Moffitt.

23: Number of states (plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized medical marijuana.

2: Number of states that have legalized recreational marijuana, which include two key NFL cities: Seattle and Denver.

1: Amount of THC in nanograms per milliliter that Josh Gordon missed in order to test negative (Gordon tested at 16 ng/mL), which led to missing the entire season.

4: Number of games a player loses when they test positive on a second pot test.

1: Number of years a player loses when they test positive on a third pot test.

4: Average number of games a player loses for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs (the first time).

1: Number of games Adrian Peterson missed for being indicted on charges of child abuse.

7: Number of players suspended this year and last for reportedly smoking marijuana. The number (which doesn’t include players charged with unspecified drug-related charges) includes players Josh Gordon, Daryl Washington, Thurmond, and Browner. A number of other players were arrested on marijuana charges this year and await NFL penalties.

104: Number of players who have been suspended for drug-related offenses since 2011 according to commissioner Roger Goodell at a news conference.

20: Number of suspensions in 2014 for other substances including performance enhancing drugs, alcohol, and cocaine.

750: The number of former NFL players and plaintiffs who signed a lawsuit against NFL teams for dispensing addictive painkillers for their injuries.

228: Number of concussions in 2013, from preseason and regular season practices and games, combined according to the NFL

91: Percentage of retired NFL players who connected their daily aches and pains to football in a survey by The Washington Post.

800: The number of painkillers a month that the Jets’ ex-quarterback Ray Lucas took because of football-related injuries, including 19 concussions.

3,000: The estimated number of NFL retirees who take narcotics, based on a study from Washington University School of Medicine, commissioned by ESPN.

1, 500: The estimated number of those retirees dependent on pain pills, based on the same study.

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