Though Major League Baseball (MLB) removed cannabis from its list of banned substances during the last offseason, the commissioner still has some words of warning for players.
In a recent memo obtained by ESPN, the league reminded teams that players can be subject to penalty for showing up to work high or for violating marijuana laws.
Players and other team personnel will be subject to “mandatory evaluation” for treatment programs if they “appear under the influence of marijuana or any other cannabinoid during any of the Club’s games, practices, workouts, meetings or otherwise during the course and within the scope of their employment,” the memo said.
Despite shifting its priority to testing for opioids over weed, the MLB still restricts affiliate medical professionals from recommending cannabis as an alternative to opioid pain treatment.
“Club medical personnel are prohibited from prescribing, dispensing or recommending the use of marijuana or any other cannabinoid” to players or officials, the memo said.
Another aspect of MLB policy that hasn’t changed is that penalties for cannabis use remain much more severe for minor league players than for those in the majors.
Even before the change, the consequence for major league players who tested positive for weed was a fine. Minor league ballers, however, were subject to suspension if caught using marijuana.
Cannabis use also continues to be legally riskier for minor league players. ESPN reports that while 26 out of 30 cities with major league teams have some form of legal medical marijuana, there are more than 60 cities with minor league teams where MMJ is still illegal.
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