Major League Baseball (MLB) recently got on the right side of history when the league announced that it will be removing cannabis from its list of banned substances and will treat cannabis like alcohol.

The new policy will become effective starting in 2020 during the league’s spring training.

MLB’s cannabis policy change marks a significant shift in professional sports, and given the prominent role that professional sports plays in society, it is a really big deal.

Currently, professional baseball players are bound by a very harsh cannabis policy that results in severe penalties for failed drug tests (a 50 ng/mL THC threshold).

Major League Baseball players are suspended for 25 games after their first failed drug test, 50 games for a second, 100 games for a third, and are banned for life after a fourth failed drug test.

Thankfully, that will now go away once spring training rolls around.

What Will the New MLB Policy Look Like?

When the new policy takes effect, players who are determined to have consumed cannabis will be referred to a treatment board, similar to when a player is suspected of abusing alcohol.

Players will not be punished for failing to participate in a recommended treatment program.

The new policy is a gamechanger from a medical cannabis perspective. Prior to the new policy’s enactment, MLB made no distinction between medical cannabis use and non-medical use.

With the new program, the league will be granted the flexibility to consider whether or not a player is using cannabis for medical purposes.

In a perfect world, there wouldn’t even be a review involved and cannabis would be treated like any other safe medicine, however, the policy change is still a dramatic improvement.

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