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