By and large society has started to approach medical marijuana in a pretty friendly way. Multiple states have legalized it, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see half the country approve it. Don't bank on the NFL coming around anytime soon, however.
Although the league has lowered its penalties for testing positive for marijuana -- and not, you know, suspending someone half a season for failing a drug test -- it's still not allowing players to ease physical pain through medically prescribed marijuana.
Based on what Roger Goodell said on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" Friday morning, that standard won't be changing any time soon.
Goodell said he believes marijuana remains "addictive" in nature and still has negative health consequences.
"I think you still have to look at a lot of aspects of marijuana use. Is it something that can be negative to the health of our players? You're ingesting smoke, so that's not usually a positive thing. It does have an addictive nature," Goodell said. "There are a lot of compounds in marijuana that might not be healthy for players long term. It's not as simple as someone just wants to feel better after a game.
"We really want to help our players ... but I want to make sure the negative consequences aren't something that we'll be held accountable for years down the road."
The NFL isn't going to be that billion-dollar company that just suddenly tells everyone to smoke as much weed as they want. There are all kinds of legal issues at play here, especially with NFL players crossing in and out of various states -- some of which have legalized marijuana, many of which don't -- each week of the season.
Additionally, the NFL is almost always conservative by nature. It is very rarely ahead of the curve when it comes to what society changes for society in terms of being acceptable and appropriate.
And at the end of the day, the league can always blame the doctors. Which Goodell did: he says that medical advisers for both the NFL and NFLPA have not told the league or the union to proceed with making the penalties for marijuana lighter and/or approving medical marijuana.
"We look at it from a medical standpoint. So if people feel it has a medical benefit -- the medical advisers have to tell you that," Goodell said. "And we'll sit down and talk about that. But we've been studying that through our advisers. To date they haven't really said [to consider a change].
"As you point out, there are changes in this. Medical marijuana is something that's evolving and at some point the advisers might come to us and say that's something we ought to consider. But to date they haven't really said [to do that]."
In other words, the NFL isn't going to legalize marijuana this offseason. Maybe the NFL will do a quick about face, but not based on what the commissioner is saying as of April 2017.