United States Representative Earl Blumenauer is one of the most inspiring freedom fighters the cannabis world has ever known. Blumenauer has been a staunch supporter of cannabis reform in the world of politics since the early 1970’s when he championed a successful bill in Oregon’s Legislature that made Oregon the first state in the nation to decriminalize cannabis. I recently heard the story behind the effort at the launch of Earl’s new Cannabis Fund via a fundraiser in Portland, Oregon. Hearing the story then gave me goosebumps, and it still does now when I think about it.
Over 40 years later Earl Blumenauer is now a federal politician, and is fighting harder to end federal cannabis prohibition than any other member of Congress. He has either sponsored, co-sponsored, or strongly supported every pro-cannabis reform measure that has been introduced in Congress since he became a United States Representative in 1996. But Earl doesn’t just limit his support for cannabis reform to the political world. Blumenauer was recently interviewed by TMZ, and during the interview Earl Blumenauer had something to say specifically about cannabis reform in professional sports. Per TMZ:
“It’s much less damaging than the opiods, the painkillers, the shots, the pills … and it’s time professional sports stops punishing them but works with them.”
Congressman Blumenauer says 2/3 Americans have legal access to medical marijuana — so to ban NBA and NFL players is basically treating them like “second class citizens.”
Earl Blumenauer’s endorsement of ending cannabis prohibition in professional sports is a big deal. As far as I am aware, he is the first member of Congress to specifically express support for cannabis reform in professional sports. If someone has an example that predates Blumenauer’s endorsement, please point it out in the comments below. Hopefully Earl’s support encourages other members of Congress to do the same, and also hopefully it is an endorsement that league officials in the NBA and NFL see and are swayed by.
A push to reform the NFL and NBA have been underway for some time, with athletes like retired NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson leading the charge. If fans, players (current and retired), members of sports media, and members of Congress all keep calling on the leagues to end cannabis prohibition, they will have to listen and get on the right side of history, at least in theory. Cannabis prohibition has failed, and that is true both in society as well as in professional sports. If athletes want to make the safer choice, they should be allowed to do so, and the leagues should end the practice of penalizing players that are caught with cannabis away from their team which perpetuates institutional racism.