Super Bowl LI was not the only news-breaking event in Houston this year. During the week leading up to American media’s biggest annual event, a “Cannabis in Professional Sports” convention was held at Live Nation’s Revention Music Center on  February 1, 2017. Here are revelations about the meeting and other cannabis developments in Houston. Cannabis Convention As one of the Super Bowl festivities, pharma/inhaler company Vapen CBD and Snoop Dogg’s cannabis news service Merry Jane presented the “Cannabis in Professional Sports” conference to ride the media wave surrounding the championship game. One of the attendees was former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who has won two Super Bowl rings (once with the Green Bay Packers as a backup). As a prominent NFL veteran, McMahon helped bring pot’s medicinal properties to the attention of the league, which has traditionally penalized players caught using it. Other football star attendees included Kyle Turley and Nate Jackson. ESPN covered the event, giving it even wider exposure. “Cannabis saved my life,” according to Turley. NFL Drug Policy Changes The event showcased speakers who explained NFL cannabis prohibition and pot’s medical benefits. Meanwhile, the NFL Players Association has already started looking into cannabis as an alternative to opiates that are prescribed to injured players. The league usually mandates drug testing of its players between April 20 and August 9, but not during the regular season. In the past, several players have been suspended for not passing drug tests, but now league officials are rethinking its drug policy concerning cannabis. The league has become more sympathetic about medical pot, especially after 2016 state elections that widened its legal use, along with anecdotal evidence from respected football players. Kevin Gogan, who won championship rings with the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and 1993, began using cannabis as a treatment for painful arthritis after conventional medicine and electroshock therapy failed. Houston Loosens Upon Pot Despite the fact that marijuana is still illegal in Texas, times are changing as more evidence shows that the cannabis plant can be an effective medical treatment for a wide variety of ailments. Former Houston Texans center Chris Meyers says “I’ve been a proponent of it, my entire life.” Houston is the largest city in Texas and is progressively moving toward decriminalization of marijuana. Kim Ogg, the new District Attorney of Harris County, has pledged to reform current cannabis laws and is urging police officers to back off possession cases. County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez agrees with her position. Houston’s new Police Chief Art Acevedo is also open to discussion on marijuana reform laws. At one time Texas was considered the most marijuana-unfriendly state in America, but times are clearly changing in favor of decriminalization, at least in Houston. If Texas, the second largest state by both area and population, decriminalizes pot, that could influence other holdout southern states to legalize medical marijuana.

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