Drug Law

Vikings WR Percy Harvin Sidelined; Can’t Use Medical Marijuana

| by Marijuana Policy Project

By Mike Meno


The idiocy of our country’s approach to medical marijuana was on full display for all to see at the Minnesota Vikings training camp yesterday.

Since the age of 10, Percy Harvin, a Vikings wide receiver, has suffered from chronic, debilitating migraines. Luckily, later in life, Harvin found a therapeutic substance that not only relieved his migraines effectively, but also allowed him to play football. It was marijuana.

But during last year’s NFL combine, Harvin, a promising prospect, tested positive for marijuana, and was subsequently drafted much lower than expected. The Vikings finally picked him 22nd overall, reportedly after a long talk about his marijuana use, and specifically, how it needed to stop if he wanted to keep playing.

Harvin complied, and the migraines didn’t seem to be a problem for much of his breakout rookie season. “Questions about his ability as a receiver seem silly now,” Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated wrote at the time. “The only thing that has slowed him is migraines.” Toward the end of last season, the migraines got worse, and Harvin was sidelined. Except now he wasn’t able to use marijuana to treat them, and nothing else seemed to work.

On Monday, after another stint in the hospital, Harvin was finally back in uniform at Vikings training camp. Cindy Boren of the Washington Post describes what happened next:

Harvin, who has battled migraines since he was 10 and sought treatment last year at the Mayo Clinic, had not practiced for two weeks because of migraines, returning to the field only Monday. Suffering another attack Thursday, he managed to return to the field and looked up to the sky to field a punt. He doubled over, vomited and seemed momentarily unresponsive and was taken to the hospital. The scene was so disturbing for players that the rest of practice was called off.

If medical marijuana were legal in the United States, and treated like any other legitimate medicine by the NFL, then Harvin could consult with a doctor about the best way to use marijuana to help relieve these awful migraines. (And anyone who is a migraine sufferer knows just how awful they can be.) More importantly, the Vikings could have a productive wide receiver. Instead, they’re forced to stand by idly as their $1.04 million investment is carted off the field in an ambulance, overcome by pain that could easily be relieved by a safe, non-toxic medicine.

How’s that for sensible marijuana policies?