Is Canada’s Weed Legalization Affecting NHL Pot Rules?

NHL Pot Rules

Canada’s weed legalization is having a profound effect on the country, even the world, in just about every industry, but it will not change the rules for its National Hockey League. Expected to generate multiple billions for the country’s federal coffers, the imminent legalization of pot is a long-awaited, much celebrated event for the country and its peoples.

However, there are some facts to consider, some apparent now and others that arise as the market stabilizes. What will happen to drug testing laws? Will employers still have a right to an office free of inebriated workers, for example, or the National Hockey League bending the rules for stoned players? How far will society allow legalization to go?

Canada’s Weed Legalization

Canada intends to legalize marijuana across the country. It plans to wipe out the black market with legal trade instead, by those licensed, qualified, and authorized to operate within the industry. Provinces and territories can decide for themselves how they wish to regulate their pot market, whether privately or publically, store limits, and more. The federal government will be the sole supplier.

Adults will have full access to legal marijuana. Depending on where they live, the age for this could be 19-years or 21-years. Legal adults will be able to grow up to six, perhaps more if you live in a nice jurisdiction, mature plants and have some weed in their possession. However, if anybody can use weed freely, what happens to the marijuana rules governing the work place, for hockey players and others?

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Individual Discretion

Employers will not be able to discriminate against pot consumers in the workplace. However, they will retain the right to decide whether they will tolerate its use by employees or not. Most are happy to allow its use, provided not at the workplace and in the privacy of home, but most do not want staff stoned at work. The same applies to the National Hockey League.

One of the legal stipulations for hockey players is to remain clean and sober, at your physical best to do the best you possibly can in the ring. There is no doubt that marijuana affects performance, science shows in a positive way, and that it has powerful medicinal applications. Banning players from its use would not be within their rights, since it promises a safer alternative to currently prescribed pain drugs.

However, there must be laws in place to govern marijuana use among sports players. The National Hockey League will continue to test for marijuana in its drug tests. Last Thursday, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press that Canada’s weed legalization would not affect the league’s drug testing policy, agreed to already by both the NHL Players Association and the league itself.

Existing NHL Marijuana Rules

Currently, the National Hockey League tests for cannabis when drug screening its players. However, a positive test on its own does not automatically lead to suspension and harsh punishment. Seven teams are in Canada playing, while several other teams, and the U.S. State of Colorado, allow some legal use of cannabis.

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If doctors recommend cannabis use for players to treat specific, legally qualifying medical conditions, such as chronic pain, then there is some leeway for players to do that. However, recreational use of weed is not yet acceptable by league standards. Meanwhile, the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada embraces new policies for employees and golfers when pot goes legal.

The Association says that municipal bylaws could easily mandate what some courses will or will not allow. Despite this, some private golf courses, many of which permit the sale and consumption of both alcohol and cigarettes on their premises, will have to make their own choice when Canada’s weed legalization goes into effect on October 17.

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