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The Boston Herald
Canada will become the largest country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana tomorrow, and the NHL and NHL Players' Association plan no changes to their joint drug-testing policy, under which players are not punished for positive marijuana tests.
It is the most lenient approach to cannabis by any major North American pro sports league.
"The Substance Abuse & Behavioral Health Program for decades has been educating players on using drugs, legal or illegal," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "That process will continue and we will consider what changes, if any, in our program have to be made. But right now, we think based on the educational level and what we do test for and how we test, at least for the time being, we're comfortable with where we are."
While the NFL and NBA can suspend and MLB can fine players for multiple marijuana infractions, only a significantly high amount of the drug found in NHL/NHLPA testing triggers a referral to behavioral health program doctors.
Bettman contends the mainstream medical community has not concluded that cannabis prevents or heals injuries, and said an argument could be made to the contrary.
Given the looming legalization set for Canada, the league and union opted for education over policy changes.
Elsewhere in the NHL — Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz will miss the next four months with a fractured left leg. Schultz injured the leg on Saturday after getting tangled up with an opposing player. . . .
Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson was suspended two games without pay for his hit on Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson on Saturday night. The Canucks put Pettersson in concussion protocol. Also, center Jay Beagle is out six weeks with a broken forearm. . . .
The Colorado Avalanche claimed center Marko Dano off waivers from Winnipeg.
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