Many professional hockey players report using cannabis medicinally to avoid using opiate-based painkillers; in Canada, medical cannabis is a federally regulated substance that anyone with a doctor’s recommendation can access.
Under the league’s current rules, players are not at all punished if they test positive for cannabis use; Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the NHL has no intention to change that policy.
”The Substance Abuse & Behavioral Health Program for decades has been educating players on using drugs, legal or illegal. That process will continue and we will consider what changes, if any, in our program have to be made. But right now, we think based on the educational level and what we do test for and how we test, at least for the time being, we’re comfortable with where we are.” — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, via Yahoo Sports
If anything, the biggest concern for some NHL officials appears to be that players are properly educated about the potential effects and benefits of cannabis use.
”What we feel was an important element is at least educating the players better on the current marijuana landscape both from a legal and illegal perspective and what’s permitted and not permitted,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told Yahoo Sports. ”But also, ‘What are the products out there?’ Because there’s probably publicly a great misconception of what marijuana is, how it’s used, what it’s used for to what the reality is.”