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Play Ball … or Not? MLB and Marijuana

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Being a big league ballplayer involves a fair amount of stress. While some players get tanked on alcohol to handle their 162 game schedule, others choke down fistfuls of prescription medications to deal with their job-related health issues, leaving more than a few MLB players who prefer smoking some connoisseur grade cannabis as a means of dealing with their daily pain and anxiety.

As MLB prepares to fire off the first pitch of the 2016 season this Sunday, pot-smoking players are hardly the biggest issue facing Major League Baseball today; think PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs), ethnic diversity in the front office, and underfunded franchises. Despite facing these very real issues, Major League Baseball would rather demonize a peaceful plant and potentially ruin the promising careers of talented young players for simply getting high. The following five players represent just a few examples of the MLB seriously losing their sense of humor over the recreational/ medicinal use of marijuana:

  1. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants:

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The Freak,” a.k.a. Tim Lincecum – currently M.I.A. from the San Francisco Giants – was cited in his home state of Washington on misdemeanor marijuana charges after a traffic stop went sideways in 2009.


  1. Elijah Dukes – Retired Washington Nationals:

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Sometimes, being honest just works against you. First informing a reporter in February 2011, that while he played for the Washington Nationals, he used to fire up before home games. Dukes was later pulled over in 2012 and charged with marijuana possession and attempted destruction of evidence.


  1. Jordan Schafer – Houston Astros


Don’t smoke and drive, particularly in Florida. During the 2011 season, a cop observed Astros outfielder Jordan Schafer as he smoked a joint at a traffic light. The unnoticed police officer then arrested and charged Schaefer with a felony marijuana possession.


  1. Jon Singleton – Houston Astros


Turning to alcohol, pills, and other more acceptable substances as a means of fighting off his self-described addiction, Jon Singleton openly admitted that he “enjoys smoking weed.” After his 50 game suspension for failing two drug tests, the Astro’s management first sent him to therapy, then down to AAA.


  1. Alex Reyes – St. Louis Cardinals

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Offering further evidence that MLB’s Reefer Madness remains alive and well in 2016, Reyes was suspended by the St. Louis Cardinals and the MLB for lighting up something more than just his pitches.

While ballplayers on major league teams enjoy slightly more progressive rules regarding marijuana and THC, minor-league players face stricter marijuana policies. According to the MLBPA’s Joint Drug Agreement, players in the minor league can be randomly tested, regardless of whether or not it’s the off-season.

With all of that said, those players that haven’t failed their annual drug test for PED’s or THC … Play ball!

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