Canadian Marijuana Legalization Won't Change NHL Policy For Now

Canada is set to legalize recreational marijuana on Wednesday which will impact many aspects of the country. But apparently it will not affect the country's biggest export: hockey players.

The National Hockey League (NHL) says they will not change their marijuana policy after Canada legalizes recreational cannabis. Seven teams in the league are located in Canada, and nearly 50 percent of players in the league originate from the country. But apparently that's not enough for the league to change their policy.

"The Substance Abuse & Behavioral Health Program for decades has been educating players on using drugs, legal or illegal," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "That process will continue and we will consider what changes, if any, in our program have to be made. But right now, we think based on the educational level and what we do test for and how we test, at least for the time being, we're comfortable with where we are."

To be fair, the NHL already has a pretty lenient marijuana policy. While the league does test for marijuana, it does not institute any penalties for players who test positive for cannabis. If players do test at a high enough level, they are referred to a behavioral health program. But it doesn't affect their ability to play hockey or earn a paycheck.

Of course many players want the league to embrace a more open approach to marijuana and encourage players to use the drug as a way to deal with injuries sustained while playing. But that may be impossible as long as the United States federal government continues to keep the drug illegal.

(h/t USA Today)


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