NFL denies RB Mike James' request to use marijuana as a painkiller

After his doctor said marijuana would be a safer option than prescription drugs, Mike James has become a vocal medical marijuana advocate.

Kahron Spearman

Looking to alter the way the NFL perceives the use of the drug, free agent running back Mike James attempted and failed to persuade the NFL to allow him to use marijuana as a painkiller, according to Yahoo! Sports.


James says he developed a dependence on prescription painkillers to cope with the enduring pain associated with football. After his doctor said marijuana would be a safer option, he's become an advocate for medical marijuana. 

I am hopeful that Ill be able to keep playing football. It is a game that I love very dearly. I know right now Im doing something that makes some people uncomfortable, and that Im going against the establishment to push for a change in the way they look at this medicine. I know theres a greater purpose here for a lot of guys in this league who I consider family members.

Mike James
Free agent running back

The NFL sometimes allows players to use otherwise banned substances with therapeutic use exemptions. 


However, when James applied for a therapeutic use exemption to allow him to use marijuana, the NFL turned him down. The athlete  isn't under contract with an NFL team, but as a free agent, he's subject to the league's random drug testing policy.