Major League Baseball to Allow CBD Sponsorships

The MLB stated in a conference call on June 21 that CBD is now an “approved category” which means that teams are now allowed to sell CBD sponsorships as long as the brand has received an NSF certification (a verification that a product has no THC).

According to Sports Business Journal, MLB Chief Revenue Officer Noah Garden explained the reason for the change. “We’ve been watching this category for a while and waiting for it to mature to the point where we can get comfortable with it,” said Garden. “We told the clubs if you want to do a deal in the CBD category, it will require two things: One is NSF certification—and none of them are there yet, although around three to five [brands] are in process. The other is to get approval from the commissioner’s office…Our fans are very much the kind of customers they are looking for, and we like being first. It’s a good opportunity for us and the clubs. The last few companies that came to see us about this, the process of NSF certification was embraced. That gave us a comfort level to be able to move forward.”

Recently, analysts shared that CBD could generate up to $4.9 billion across the globe in 2022, with a projection of reaching $47 billion by 2028.

The MLB “patch program,” which began in March 2022, allows each team to feature a brand and logo on their team uniforms for on-field players. The San Diego Padres was the first team to embrace this new sponsorship by partnering with Motorola. With this in mind, Garden added that a CBD brand could possibly be featured in a patch deal too. “We are open-minded to doing a patch deal here, depending on the brand and what that brand represents,” Garden said. “It has to have a brand that represents sports.” 

It’s a landmark milestone for CBD in the MLB, but the conversation spans most other sports organizations as well.

NBA athlete Kevin Garnett said in an interview with Sports Business Journal last week following his attendance of the Brand Innovation Summit that was held in Chicago, Illinois on June 13-15, “I think with the emergence and where CBD is going, not only are you going to see a deal [in the NBA], you are going to start see the sponsorships on the jerseys.” Garnett continued, “You are going to start to see a more active role of CBD products actually signing players, both women and men. And then I think you’re going to see the education come out a little more because we’re all looking for it now. I think CBD is here, it’s a disruptor, it has disrupted pharma, as it should, and it’s a great, different solution. If people are not using it, I recommend people to go out and have your own testimonials and your own experiences with it. It really does work.”

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Vice President of Global Partnerships Grant Norris-Jones also spoke at the event on the topic CBD and its benefits for athletes. “It’s a better alternative to addictive products, like pain killers, opioids, and sleeping aids,” said Norris-Jones. “The big problem has been the different standards and practices by our various broadcast partners when it comes to CBDs…In the U.K., [UFC sponsor] Love Hemp is sold in the equivalent of Walgreens and CVS. Here, their activations have to be outside of ESPN currently. So it’s been a lot of digital, social and a brand ambassador program with our athletes.”

The MLB first made waves towards allowing cannabis consumption for athletes over two years ago. Following the events of baseball player Tyler Skaggs who died of an opioid overdose, the organization announced in December 2019 that it would be removing cannabis from its list of “abused drugs” (but would still test for substances such as fentanyl and cocaine).

However, the MLB still said in March 2020 that players may receive punishments for appearing under the influence of cannabis at any practices or games.

The NBA was next to make history when it announced in October 2021 that it would not be testing its athletes for cannabis during the 75th season, which began in October 2021 and ended in May 2022.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// MLB: Players still subject to penalty for using pot (ESPN)

// Ohio Activists Formally File Measure To Put Marijuana Legalization Before Voters This Year (Marijuana Moment)

// Tilray Stock Slips As Company Misses Earnings Estimate (Green Market Report)


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// New Bill To Legalize Marijuana In Mexico Will Be Debated This Week, But Activists Aren’t Happy (Marijuana Moment)

// Connecticut Lawmakers Hold Hearing On Governor’s Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// German government doesn’t know how much cannabis sold in 2019, can’t estimate 2020 demand (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Adult-use cannabis delivery gets a boost from lawmakers (Portland Press Herald)

// Deals have dried up in cannabis, but that may be starting to change (CNN)

// Cannabis giants, formerly of Canopy Growth, band together to build out U.S. hemp supply chain (Philadelphia Inquirer)

// Move to cap THC stalls in Senate (Florida Politics)


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Tuesday, March 3, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// MLB: Players still subject to penalty for using pot (ESPN)

// Ohio Activists Formally File Measure To Put Marijuana Legalization Before Voters This Year (Marijuana Moment)

// Tilray Stock Slips As Company Misses Earnings Estimate (Green Market Report)


These headlines are brought to you by Green Worx Consults, a company specializing in project management, workflow mapping and design, and Lean & 6 Sigma process. If you could use help making your business better at business, get in touch with Green Worx Consults.


// New Bill To Legalize Marijuana In Mexico Will Be Debated This Week, But Activists Aren’t Happy (Marijuana Moment)

// Connecticut Lawmakers Hold Hearing On Governor’s Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// German government doesn’t know how much cannabis sold in 2019, can’t estimate 2020 demand (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Adult-use cannabis delivery gets a boost from lawmakers (Portland Press Herald)

// Deals have dried up in cannabis, but that may be starting to change (CNN)

// Cannabis giants, formerly of Canopy Growth, band together to build out U.S. hemp supply chain (Philadelphia Inquirer)

// Move to cap THC stalls in Senate (Florida Politics)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
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Monday, December 16, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, December 16, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Massachusetts retailers can again sell pot vaping products (Sun Sentinel (AP))

// MLB Officially Removes Marijuana From Banned Substances List For Baseball Players (Marijuana Moment)

// Canadians Bought Over $900 Million of Weed in the First Year of Legal Sales (Merry Jane)


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// Recreational marijuana sales in Michigan exceed $1.6 million in first 8 days (Detroit Free Press)

// Montana health department to enforce flavored vaping ban (The Hour (AP))

// Legalizing Marijuana Has Majority Support In Kansas, Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)

// Cresco Labs Shores Up Its Balance Sheet, Sells Property for $50 Million (Green Market Report)

// New Jersey Lawmakers Take First Steps To Put Marijuana Legalization On The 2020 Ballot (Marijuana Moment)

// Brooklyn brothers seek $10M for Vermont hemp shipment arrest, confiscation (VT Digger)

// Cannabis’ largest trade show is pretty ordinary, and that’s what the industry wants (CNN)


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MLB to treat cannabis like alcohol, and instead test for opioids

Major League Baseball announced Thursday, in a joint drug agreement between the MLB and the players’ association, that it will start testing for opioids and cocaine, but only players who do not co-operate with their treatment plans will be subject to discipline. Additionally, in a significant shift, cannabis will be removed from the list of […]

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MLB To Remove Cannabis From List Of Abused Drugs, Will Test For Opioids And Cocaine

Still reeling from the sudden death of a young pitcher, Major League Baseball and its players’ union have agreed to a policy under which players will be tested for opioids and cocaine.

The policy, which was announced Thursday, comes a little more than five months after the Los Angeles Angels’ Tyler Skaggs was found dead in a hotel room in Dallas. Skaggs, who was only 27, died after choking on his own vomit, and was found by an examiner to have alcohol and two opioid-based painkillers, fentanyl and oxycodone, in his system.

The untimely death prompted discussion for the new drug testing policy, which is expected to take effect next season.

“The opioid epidemic in our country is an issue of significant concern to Major League Baseball,” deputy commissioner and chief legal officer Dan Halem said in a statement, as quoted by ESPN. “It is our hope that this agreement — which is based on principles of prevention, treatment, awareness and education — will help protect the health and safety of our Players.”

Baseball Players On Board

Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said that the league’s players “are overwhelmingly in favor of expanding our drug-testing regimen to include opioids and want to take a leadership role in helping to resolve this national epidemic.”

The policy change also includes a reclassification of how the league approaches marijuana, which ESPN reported will now be treated the same as alcohol, which means players will be referred to voluntary treatment. Previously, players who didn’t go along with the treatment plan for marijuana were were subject to fines.

That punishment is now out, and players in both the major and minor leagues will be able to use marijuana to treat injuries without the prospect of discipline from the league office. That’s a potentially milestone precedent, as other professional sports leagues increasingly consider allowing players to use cannabis as a method of pain treatment instead of deadly prescription painkillers.

The National Football League, which lists marijuana as a banned substance, launched a study earlier this year in conjunction with its own players’ union to examine the potential of medical cannabis, as well as the use of prescription drugs by its players.

NFL players are regularly tested for banned substances, and violation of the league’s marijuana policy results in fines and suspensions. 

Under the MLB drug policy, the league will test players for opioids, fentanyl, cocaine and synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol; those who test positive will be referred to a treatment board.

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