The Kansas City Royals formed a new partnership with a cannabis brand to promote education about the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD—the second Major League Baseball (MLB) team to do so.
The Missouri-based team announced on Tuesday that it has joined forces with Pure Spectrum CBD, a company that produces hemp-derived cannabidiol products like oils and gummies. This is the second MLB team to embrace the cannabis space, coming just two months after the Chicago Cubs teamed up with the CBD sparkling beverage brand MYND DRINKS.
MLB itself announced its league-wide partnership with a popular CBD brand last year. Charlotte’s Web Holdings, one of the most recognizable hemp-derived CBD companies in the country, signed the deal with league to become the “Official CBD of MLB.”
“The Kansas City Royals are proud to be just the second MLB team to form a partnership with a company like Pure Spectrum,” Sarah Tourville, the team’s executive vice president and chief commercial & community impact officer, said in a press release. “For this organization, this opportunity gives us a chance to support a brand with Kansas City ties and to educate the community on the benefits of CBD.”
Pure Spectrum has spent the last several years establishing itself within the athletics arena, sponsoring the CrossFit Games in 2018 and partnering with U.S. Olympic governing bodies like USA Triathlon and USA Weightlifting.
“As someone who grew up in Kansas City, this partnership with the Kansas City Royals is more than a ‘dream come true’ for me,” Pure Spectrum CEO Dan Huerter said. “To be able to work with such an iconic organization and to be a part of promoting health and wellness in my hometown community is an incredible honor.”
“Our partnership with the Royals represents a monumental step forward for the entire industry and illustrates just how far we’ve come,” he said.
The Pure Spectrum and Royals partnership launched with the grand opening of a new “Pure Spectrum Lodge” at Kauffman Stadium last Friday
“Equipped with fans and misters, the space is designed to give fans a place to relax and watch the game while learning about the positive effects of CBD,” the company’s press release says. Pure Spectrum also served as the presenting partner of Yoga Day at the stadium on Sunday and will be the presenting partner for Ag Night on August 1.
MLB said last year that individual teams could start selling partnerships to cannabis companies. In order to do so, a prospective business’s products must be certified by NSF International, a consumer safety and product-testing organization that sports leagues use, and the club must also receive authorization from the MLB commissioner’s office.
The league has been among the more progressive professional sports organizations in the U.S. when it comes to cannabis, standing out among other leagues as more willing to respond to the changing marijuana policy landscape.
For example, it clarified in a memo in 2020 that players will not be punished for using cannabis while they aren’t working, but they can’t be personally sponsored by a marijuana company or hold investments in the industry.
The league also said at the time that it was teaming with NSF International to analyze and certify legal, contaminant-free CBD products in order to allow teams to store them on club premises.
The update built upon MLB’s decision in 2019 to remove cannabis from the league’s list of banned substances. Before that rule change, players who tested positive for THC were referred to mandatory treatment, and failure to comply carried a fine of up to $35,000. That penalty is now gone.
The policies are the result of negotiations between MLB and its players union. Both parties agreed to approach the league’s drug policy with an emphasis on treatment rather than penalties. Players who test positive for opioids or cocaine, for example, will be penalized only if they refuse treatment.
A number of athletic governance bodies have recently relaxed rules around cannabinoids as laws change and medical applications become more widely accepted.
The National Basketball Association (NBA), for example, is removing player drug testing requirements for THC, while allowing players to passively invest in the industry. However, players will not be able to promote marijuana companies, contrary to early reports about the deal with the players union.
Nevada sports regulators recently voted to send a proposed regulatory amendment to the governor that would formally protect athletes from being penalized over using or possessing marijuana in compliance with state law.
UFC announced in 2021 that they would no longer be punishing fighters over positive marijuana tests.
Separately, student athletes that are part of the NCAA would no longer automatically lose their eligibility to play following a positive marijuana test under rules that are were recommended by a key committee last year.
The National Football League’s (NFL) drug testing policy changed demonstrably in 2020 as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
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