Major League Baseball has reportedly signed a CBD company to serve as the league’s first-ever cannabis sponsor, with plans to promote the company at the upcoming World Series.
Charlotte’s Web Holdings, one of the nation’s most recognizable hemp-derived CBD brands, has signed the deal with the league to become the “Official CBD of MLB,” the Sports Business Journal reported Tuesday.
As part of the agreement, Charlotte’s Web will launch a line of “Sport” cannabis products bearing the MLB logo. In addition to rights fees and sales revenue sharing, the baseball association will also receive a portion of the shares of the company, which is publicly traded in Canada.
SBJ said the deal “includes exclusive category rights and covers this year’s playoffs, plus three more years.”
Marijuana Moment has reached out to Charlotte’s Web and MLB for comment, but a company representative said executives were not immediately available and the league had not responded at press time.
MLB is among the most progressive professional sports organizations in the United States when it comes to marijuana.
The new development comes about four months after it was reported that MLB had begun allowing league baseball teams to sell sponsorships to cannabis companies that market CBD products, provided they meet certain criteria.
As SBJ reported at the time, a team could only sell a CBD sponsorship if a potential company’s products were certified by NSF International, a consumer safety and product testing organization used by sports leagues. , and the club would also need to receive clearance from the MLB Commissioner’s Office.
⬇️ More Terry Leftonhttps://t.co/TjZd0wZIjI pic.twitter.com/oTEM093jlI
— Sports Business Journal (@SBJ) October 11, 2022
MLB has stood out among other professional sports leagues as being more willing to respond to the changing political landscape of marijuana. For example, he clarified in a memo in 2020 that players will not be punished for using cannabis while not working, but they cannot be personally sponsored by a marijuana company or hold investments. in industry.
The league also said at the time that it was teaming up with NSF International to analyze and certify legal and contaminant-free CBD products to allow teams to stock them on club premises. It is unclear if this latest development is directly related to this collaboration.
The update builds on MLB’s decision in 2019 to remove cannabis from the league’s banned substances list. Prior to this rule change, players who tested positive for THC were referred for mandatory treatment and failure to comply was subject to a fine of up to $35,000. This penalty is now gone.
The policies are the result of negotiations between MLB and its players’ union. Both parties have agreed to approach the league’s drug policy with an emphasis on treatment rather than punishment. Players who test positive for opioids or cocaine, for example, will only be penalized if they refuse treatment.
A number of sports governing bodies have recently loosened the rules around cannabinoids as laws change and medical applications gain wider acceptance.
The UFC announced last year that it would no longer punish fighters for positive marijuana tests, MMA Fighting reported.
“There are opportunities in all sports,” UFC Senior Vice President/Global Partnerships Paul Asencio told SBJ. “I don’t think every team will have a ([CBD] partner, but probably all leagues will. It’s just a very good connection and marketing platform, because professional athletes use these products and will continue to do so.
For example, student-athletes who are part of the NCAA would no longer automatically lose their eligibility to play following a positive marijuana test under rules recommended by a key committee earlier this year.
The conversation around drug testing and professional sports came to the fore last summer after American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was suspended from the Olympics due to a positive THC test. She admitted to using cannabis in a legal state after learning of her mother’s death.
The runner said she would feel “blessed and proud” if the attention to her case affected a change in policy for other athletes. Even the White House and President Joe Biden himself have weighed in on the matter, suggesting there’s a question of whether the marijuana ban should “remain the rules.”
However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently decided to keep marijuana on the list of banned substances for international athletes following scientific review and a determination that cannabis use “violates the spirit of sport”.
Meanwhile, the NFL’s drug testing policy has already changed demonstrably in 2020 as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
NFL players no longer face the possibility of being suspended from games for testing positive for any drug — not just marijuana — under a collective bargaining agreement. Instead, they will be fined. The threshold for what constitutes a positive THC test has also been raised as part of the deal.
The NBA announced in late 2020 that it was extending its policy of not randomly testing players for marijuana through the 2021-22 season. The association said it would not randomly test players for THC; however, they will continue to test “for cause” cases where players have a history of substance use.
Marijuana icon Snoop Dogg, who was featured at halftime at the Super Bowl this year where a separately aired ad indirectly supported legalization, argued that sports leagues need to stop testing players for marijuana and allow them to use it as an alternative to prescription opioids. .
White House touts new poll that shows strong support for Biden’s marijuana pardons