The vast majority of professional athletes have long denied marijuana use, a stance that has remained consistent since the drug was banned in baseball in 1920. This year, however, several players have come forward to explain how the use of cannabis has helped them deal with pain, treatment for injury, or to cope with the mental stress of playing in the major leagues. While some have moved to create cannabis farms in their homes, others have opted to use the drug to treat physical and mental ailments—and a few even openly accept its medical benefits.

When the topic of marijuana comes up, most people’s minds go straight to the NFL, where players get suspended or fined for using it in the off-season. But Major League Baseball players are no different. The MLB recently announced plans to test players for cannabis use during the offseason, and major leaguers who test positive won’t be suspended, but they could be fined up to $500,000.

In recent years, a number of MLB players have spoken out about their cannabis use. We have seen T.J. House, Gavin Floyd, and J.A. Happ discuss their cannabis use on social media, and recently, Mark Prior and Jason Motte have both done interviews with Cannabis and the NFL to discuss the benefits of cannabis. With more and more athletes discussing cannabis as a way to cope with pain, anxiety, and more, it is only a matter of time before cannabis becomes legal in the MLB.

For many seasons, the outlook for cannabis enthusiasts in Major League Baseball was not rosy. Although former players have said there were many users on the team (Dirk Hayhurst spoke of the Cheech and Chong experience), it was once the case that being caught with cannabis was punishable by mandatory treatment or a fine of up to $35,000.

But that all changed in late 2019, when the MLB removed cannabis from its list of banned substances. Under the union’s rules, cannabis is equated with alcohol. If you show up high to MLB games, practices, meetings or gatherings, you will suffer the consequences. But otherwise, players can consume cannabis, as long as they do so in accordance with local laws. The league is even working with the product testing organization NSF International to verify the legality and absence of contaminants in CBD products that players might use for medicinal purposes.

Last year’s season was halted due to COVID-19, making this the first full baseball season since cannabis fans were allowed to freely rock and roll in Major League Baseball. In honor of this event, we bring you three former MLB players who spoke out about marijuana use during their professional careers and whose legacies may have played a role in the MLB’s new marijuana policy.

(Photo: Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

1. Ryan Tucker

After retiring from the MLB due to knee problems, opening a dispensary and nursery in Southern California was not the next step anyone expected from this Florida Marlins pitcher. But for Tucker, it was a smooth transition.

Tucker told Leafly that cannabis use is almost commonplace in professional baseball,

If you’re in [the big leagues], you’re allowed to use cannabis, he told Leafly, and a lot of people do it openly.

That doesn’t apply to the minor leagues. According to Tucker, when he played on younger teams, he avoided using marijuana. Minor league baseball players are subject to random drug testing, while major league players are almost exclusively tested before the draft, even before the MLB announced its new weed policy. So, if you can handle it in terms of time and have some brain cells, you can consume cannabis as much as you want once you get into the big sport. That’s why you hear most often about NFL players getting suspended for marijuana use, not MLB players.

Tucker says cannabis helped him cope with the pressures of professional sports, as well as giving up the game, which had completely consumed him. He told Leafly: I got into the cannabis industry because it saved my life.

Today, Tucker holds commercial cannabis licenses in Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs and Adelanto and continues to champion the plant’s medicinal properties.

(Photo: Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

2. Dirk Hayhurst

Like Ryan Tucker, Hayhurst noted a big difference in attitudes toward cannabis in minor league baseball compared to the major leagues.

The former San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher (now a writer) once told CBS Sports,

It’s like the Cheech and Chong experiment. There’s so much weed you can smoke. And baseball knows its players smoke a lot of marijuana. Frankly, yes. She’s pretending not to be.

Hayhurst said enforcement of cannabis policy in the MLB was so weak that some players were promoted just to avoid random drug testing in the minor leagues. There is no hard data to support this claim, but combined with Ryan Tucker’s statement, it seems high time that the MLB’s cannabis policy was brought into line with reality.

(Photo: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

3. Tim Lincecum

The former San Francisco Giants pitcher became something of a poster boy for marijuana use in sports when he was pulled over for speeding in 2009 and a police officer smelled marijuana in his car. Lincecum paid a fine for a civil infraction, but was never punished by the MLB.

Lincecum helped the Giants win three world championships, cheered on by fans who wore T-shirts that read Let Timmy Smoke.

This isn’t the first time the Giants have overlooked prominent players who use pot. In 2015, Phil Bickford tested positive for THC on a pre-draft drug test and was still selected by the Giants in the first round of that year’s draft. But it’s not surprising when a significant portion of their fans take cheering for the game for granted.Professional athletes have a well-documented history of using cannabis, some for medicinal purposes, but many for recreational purposes as well. In recent years, many athletes have tried to distance themselves from their past cannabis use, but former MLB All-Star pitcher Tim Wakefield has been vocal about his past history with cannabis—and he’s not ashamed.. Read more about mlb league minimum 2020 and let us know what you think.

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