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Report: NHL drug rules to change with legal marijuana in Canada?

Toke up, boys!

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In a historic ruling from Canada’s federal government in 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would become just the third country in the world to formally legalize cannabis for public consumption. The Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) comes into effect on on October 17th, 2018 effectively making marijuana legal for all Canadians. 

While the new law will prohibit law enforcement from arresting and charging citizens for recreational marijuana use, it’s still not clear just exactly how consumers will be able to buy and consume cannabis. The federal government has left those decisions mostly up to provincial governments, so it’s safe to say that Canada’s new pot laws won’t be uniform across the country. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to be figured out.

One of the questions posed by this new legislation is, “If pot is now legal, can pro athletes toke up?” More specifically, could NHLers on any one of the seven Canadian teams walk into a pot shop, buy a baggie of weed and toke up to their heart’s content at home? What’s the NHL’s policy regarding marijuana and will it be updated to reflect these new laws?

The short answer is, “No.” But that may just be the case right now. If this legislation shows up nothing else, it’s that society’s views on cannabis are changing rapidly. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the NHL does not expect to make changes to its drug testing policy once cannabis becomes legal in Canada on October 17th, 2018. It’s also important to note that while the NHL currently tests for marijuana, the detection of the drug does not warrant a suspension or a fine under the NHL’s current drug policy. Daly did mention that, while the league’s policy will not change, they will work more diligently to educate and warn their players about the potential pitfalls of cannabis use.

So there you have it, NHLers are free to purchase and even consume marijuana in Canada, but there will be consequences should they decide to do so. It’s not exactly clear what those consequences will be, but you can be sure that more and more players are going to be exploring the world of medicinal cannabis and CBD for things like cognitive function and injury recovery.