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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With public support for marijuana legalization at an all-time high, and more athletes using cannabis to treat pain, the four major U.S. sports leagues are reducing restrictions and punishments — though the NBA lags behind the other three.

By the numbers: Recreational marijuana use is legal in 11 states, plus the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana is permitted in 33. 101 0f the 123 teams (82.1%) across the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL play in those states.

The holdouts: Only 22 teams are located in states where neither type of usage is legal, and over a third of them (8) are in Texas.

  • Texas: Astros, Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers, Rockets, Stars, Spurs, Texans
  • North Carolina: Hornets, Hurricanes, Panthers
  • Tennessee: Grizzlies, Predators, Titans
  • Georgia: Braves, Falcons, Hawks
  • Indiana: Colts, Pacers
  • Wisconsin: Brewers, Bucks, Packers

League policies:

  • NHL: While the NHL tests for cannabis, there is no punishment for positives. If a player has "abnormally high levels" of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, it's treated as a matter of health care (as alcoholism would be).
  • MLB: In December, MLB removed marijuana from its list of banned substances and now treats it the same as alcohol. Players do, however, remain subject to discipline for using or possessing the drug, and the league sent a memo to teams last week warning them not to show up to the ballpark high.
  • NFL: The proposed CBA, which players will vote on soon, would dramatically reduce the testing window from nearly four months to two weeks, raise the threshold for positive tests (from 35 nanograms to 150) and eliminate suspensions for positive tests. Overall, the new policy would "increase emphasis on clinical care over punishment."
  • NBA: Marijuana remains on the NBA's list of banned substances, and players are subject to four random tests during the regular season, with punishment escalating from entering a drug program (first positive test) to a $25,000 fine (second) to a five-game suspension (third) to a 10-game suspension (fourth).

Go deeper: Illinois rakes in $3.2 million on first day of legal marijuana sales

Go deeper

23 mins ago - Health

U.S. nursing home employment is way down

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Health care employment in the U.S. remained sluggish last month with a drop of about 19,500 nursing and residential care facility jobs, according to the latest labor report.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of the lingering economic hardship the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked on health care and, in particular, on the nursing home industry.

The pandemic-fueled sneaker boom

Sarah Grillo/Axios

What does a ticket scalper do when concerts dry up? Enter the sneaker market. Interest in rare sneakers as an investment has catapulted since pandemic lockdowns began.

Why it matters: Similar to the Robinhood effect on stock trading, sneaker apps gamified and streamlined buying, while social media added community. Sneaker trading has long been lucrative, but the pandemic brought more people — with more idle time — into the game.

40 mins ago - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

COVID-19 scatters tech hubs for young talent

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Young engineers and recent college graduates see Miami, Houston and Philadelphia — not San Francisco, New York or Seattle — as the hot new places to jumpstart a technology or creative economy career.

Why it matters: For some tech CEOs, it's the perfect time to capitalize on being where the new talent wants to go — and also pay lower taxes in the process, which makes Sunbelt cities in Florida and Texas attractive.