During the offseason, players are left largely to their own devices. Which naturally results in an increase in off-field incidents. The latest has occurred in Florida, where Ravens receiver Deonte Thompson reportedly was arrested on Friday for suspicion of possession of marijuana.
Thompson was riding in a car with two other persons when a routine traffic stop resulted in the detection by police of a “strong odor of burned cannabis,” per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of 29 grams of marijuana in a duffel bag. Thompson admitted that he owns the bag. The other two persons in the car — non-NFL players — said the marijuana was theirs.
An undrafted free agent in 2012, Thompson faces potential discipline under the substance-abuse policy. Typically, first-offense marijuana possession results in a one-game suspension, after the case has been resolved.
And here’s a prime example of why it makes sense for any NFL players inclined to possess or smoke marijuana (or to hang out with guys who may be inclined to stuff their pot into the duffel bags owned by NFL players) to spend their offseasons in Colorado or Washington, where it’s now legal to possess marijuana. As long as the possession of marijuana complies with the legal limits of possession in either state, there’s no chance of being suspended for possession of marijuana under the substance-abuse policy because there’s no chance of being arrested or charged.
With the window for annual substance-abuse testing not open until April 20 (yes, 4/20), NFL players not currently in the substance-abuse program can smoke all the pot they want until roughly March 20, at which point it would be wise to give the THC metabolites 30 days to clear out of the system.
As free agency approaches, the Seahawks and Broncos may want to consider pointing out these facts to players who may be inclined to sign in one of the other 20 NFL states that continue to make marijuana possession a crime.
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