Kellen Winslow shouldn't face suspension for drug arrest

NEW YORK -- New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow shouldn't face any discipline for his November arrest for alleged possession of medical marijuana, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told reporters in a news conference on Thursday.

Winslow was arrested in East Hanover for possession of synthetic marijuana, a substance that is illegal in New Jersey and many other states but is not among drugs banned under NFL drug policy.

"Our drug policy is one that has strict and well-defined drugs that are banned," Smith said. "If they are not on the list, they can't serve as the basis for discipline."

An NFL spokesman said at the time Winslow's arrest report was released -- which included alleged lewd conduct -- that Winslow could face discipline due to the fact it was a drug arrest. And since Commissioner Roger Goodell has the ultimate say, there appears to be at least the possibility Winslow, who is set to become a free agent, could face discipline.

Winslow allegedly' told police that he uses synthetic pot because the NFL doesn't test for it.

A source with knowledge of the drug policy talks between the league and the players union told that the NFLPA wants to see the adverse effects of synthetic marijuana -- typically incense infused with THC, the active ingredient in pot -- before agreeing to add it to the banned list.

"If the league or NFLPA wants to make additions or medications to that drug policy, the process for that is collective bargaining, as brutal, ugly and messy and imperfect as it is," Smith said.

Want messy? See the NFLPA's continued refusal to allow their players to be tested for human growth hormone originally agreed upon in August 2011. Smith said the league and the NFLPA are close on a final HGH agreement, as long as Goodell doesn't have final say on suspensions for a positive test.

And then there's the issue of actual marijuana. Both Sunday's Super Bowl teams (the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks) are from states that allow anybody 21 years of age or older. to purchase weed legally

Pot is on NFL's banned list and a positive test places a player in a treatment program and multiple positives can lead to a suspension.

"We've had preliminary discussions, but I'll be extremely blunt," Smith said with laughs from the audience over the weed reference.  "The framework for discussion with the league on any drug -- whether be medical marijuana or really anything -- is the drug policy. The focus far hasn't been on one issue, like medical marijuana. How do we close this deal on what we feel would be the gold standard in processional sports?"

That gold standard, Smith said, would be an outside arbitrator ---not the commissioner's office -- making the final call on disputed cases, like Major League Baseball. 

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