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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Former Broncos linebacker sues NFL for blocking access to prescribed synthetic cannabis

Linebacker Randy Gregory claims the NFL docked his pay by $532,000 for treating medical conditions with synthetic cannabis prescribed by his doctor.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CN) — A former linebacker for the Denver Broncos says in a lawsuit filed Wednesday the Colorado team and the National Football League prevented him from taking prescribed synthetic cannabis and fined him for testing positive for the drug.

To treat physical and mental conditions, Randy Gregory, 31, now a linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has been prescribed Dronabinol, an FDA-approved drug containing THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana which is prohibited by the NFL.

In addition to numerous football injuries, Gregory says he has been diagnosed with PTSD and social anxiety disorder. He now brings disability discrimination claims against the NFL.

Gregory was drafted in 2015 by the Dallas Cowboys. In March 2022, Gregory signed a five-year $70 million deal with the Broncos, but was released last fall. He joined the Buccaneers in April.

The NFL denied Gregory’s request for a therapeutic use exemption to its rule, and has penalized him $532,000 to date for THC-positive drug tests.

In the 14-page complaint filed in Arapahoe County, Gregory said Dronabinol helped him “focus and perform in stressful and high-pressure situations, study the playbook and film, interact with coaches and teammates and engage with the media.”

While the league doesn’t suspend players for positive drug tests, it does dock players’ salaries while requiring them to keep working.

“Regardless of a positive test, Mr. Gregory is expected to play in every game, attend practice, attend media session, and fulfill his responsibilities,” Gregory said in the complaint. “The NFL and the Broncos profited from Mr. Gregory’s continued employment.”

In addition to filing the state lawsuit, Gregory previously filed two discrimination complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

Claiming violations of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, Gregory requests a jury to find the NFL violated his rights and to award damages.

The Drug Enforcement Agency currently ranks Dronabinol as a Schedule II substance. Despite federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug, the substance has been legal in Colorado for medicinal use since 2000.

In April, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would reclassify the drug as a less restrictive Schedule III substance.

Gregory is represented by Denver attorney Spencer Kontnik of Kontnik Cohen.

Representatives from neither the Broncos nor the NFL immediately responded to inquiries for comment.

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