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Officials of the top American baseball league are telling players to be mindful of the new restrictions surrounding cannabis use and promotion.
In a memo sent to players by Major League Baseball (MLB), first reported by ESPN, Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem said players are still capable of facing discipline for use or possession of the drug.
According to the report, the memo is warning players of league sanctions in the case of anyone who may appear under the influence of the drug during “games, practices, workouts, meetings or otherwise during the course and within the scope of their employment.”
Despite the forwardness in its policy, MLB is not promoting the use of cannabis by its players. “Club medical personnel are prohibited from prescribing, dispensing or recommending the use of marijuana or any other cannabinoid,” the memo indicated.
In December, the league and the players’ association announced a new drug agreement in which cannabis would be removed from the prohibited substances list and the league would entirely remove the rigid suspension attached to cannabis use in its minor league system.
“It was a part of a larger conversation that was reflective of the attitudes changing in many parts of the country,” Tony Clark, executive director of the player’s union, told the Associated Press in reference to the grassroots expansion of cannabis legalization across the US. At a federal level, the drug remains a controlled substance despite the legalization effort from multiple states for medical or recreational purposes.
This change represents one of the latest in the adoption of the overall cannabis industry by professional athletes and leagues.
Golf has become famous for adopting the use and sponsorship of cannabidiol (CBD). A variety of retired football players have praised the effects of CBD products as a way to recover from long-standing injuries and ailments from their time on the field, as well.
Players in baseball, however, can’t yet participate in the promotion of the industry. The memo from the league said players are not allowed to make investments or “commercial arrangements” with companies in the space.
Some CBD companies have gained attention in the market thanks to the involvement of certain athletes as a spokesperson.
Abacus Health Products (CSE:ABCS,OTCQX:ABAHF) made a big splash in the market when it was able to sign former NFL player Rob Gronkowski to a sponsorship deal. Gronkowski has promoted the company via speaking engagements, clothing and advocacy for the use of CBD products.
Similarly, CV Sciences (OTCQB:CVSI) became the first US CBD company to get a sponsorship opportunity for its PlusCBD Oil brand at this year’s Farmers Insurance Open, an official PGA Golf-affiliated tournament that is part of the professional tour.
Professional golfer Bubba Watson became a spokesperson for cbdMD (NYSEAMERICAN:YCBD) and now carries the logo of the firm on his playing clothes.
The 2020 baseball season will officially kick off on March 26 with a full slate of games on Opening Day.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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