The Kansas City Royals have 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 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, just two months after the Chicago Cubs teamed up with CBD soda brand MYND DRINKS.

MLB itself announced its league-wide partnership with a popular CBD brand last year. Charlottes Web Holdings, one of the most recognizable hemp-derived CBD companies in the country, has signed the deal with the league to become MLB’s official CBD.

The Kansas City Royals are proud to be only 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 provides us with a chance to support a brand with ties to Kansas City and educate the community about the benefits of CBD.

Pure Spectrum has spent the last few years establishing itself in the athletics arena, sponsoring the CrossFit Games in 2018 and partnering with US Olympic governing bodies such as 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,” said Pure Spectrum CEO Dan Huerter. To be able to work with such an iconic organization and be a part of promoting health and wellness in my hometown community is an incredible honor.”

“Our partnership with the Royals is a huge step forward for the entire industry and illustrates how far we’ve come,” he said.

The partnership between Pure Spectrum and the Royals was launched last Friday with the unveiling of a new “Pure Spectrum Lodge” at Kauffman Stadium

“Featuring supporters and coaches, the space is designed to offer fans a place to relax and watch the game while learning about the positive effects of CBD,” the company’s press release said. Pure Spectrum was also the presenting partner of Yoga Day at the stadium on Sunday and will be the presenting partner of Ag Night on August 1st.

Last year MLB said individual teams could start selling partnerships to cannabis companies. To do so, prospective company products must be certified by NSF International, a consumer safety and product testing organization used by sports leagues, and the club must also receive clearance from the MLB Office of Commissioners.

The league has been among the most progressive professional sports organizations in the United States when it comes to cannabis, standing out among other leagues as being more willing to respond to the changing landscape of marijuana policies.

For example, it clarified in a 2020 memo that players won’t be punished for using cannabis while off the job, 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 working with NSF International to analyze and certify legal and contaminant-free CBD products in order to allow teams to store them on club premises.

The update builds on MLB’s decision in 2019 to remove cannabis from the league’s list of banned substances. Prior to that rule change, players who tested positive for THC were required to undergo treatment, and failure to comply resulted in 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 sides 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 only be penalized if they refuse treatment.

A number of sports governing bodies have recently relaxed cannabinoid rules 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, allowing players to passively invest in the industry. However, players will not be able to promote marijuana companies, contrary to early reports of the deal with the players’ union.

Nevada sports regulators recently voted to send the governor a proposed regulatory amendment that would formally protect athletes from being penalized for using or possessing marijuana in accordance with state law.

The UFC announced in 2021 that it would no longer punish fighters for testing positive for marijuana.

Separately, student athletes who are members of the NCAA would no longer automatically lose their eligibility to play following a positive marijuana test under rules that were recommended by a key committee last year.

The National Football League’s (NFL) drug testing policy demonstrably changed in 2020 as part of a collective bargaining agreement.

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