The San Francisco 49ers offseason is off to an inauspicious start with word that Reuben Foster has been arrested for marijuana possession. According to the report, Foster was charged with second degree marijuana possession, and was being held on $2,500 bond. Second degree possession appears to be the lowest level in Alabama law, dealing strictly with possession for personal use.
The question now is what kind of discipline Foster might face in the NFL’s substance abuse policy. It’s not entirely clear because we don’t know exactly where he is in the NFL’s drug-testing protocol. At the NFL Combine last year, he had a diluted sample, which according to Ian Rapoport, the league treats as a positive test. This got him moved into the substance abuse testing program.
You can read the full substance abuse policy here. There are three stages to the program. Foster would have been in stage one, which can last anywhere from 90-180 days without violations. A positive marijuana test for someone in stage two would result in a fine of two game checks, but I don’t know if an arrest and possession of marijuana is treated the same way.
My guess is this leads to a hefty fine, but the NFL is never entirely clear on their various policies. Would they consider an arrest as a personal conduct issue, even though it’s related to drugs? My guess is no, but I’m not particularly certain given how inconsistent the NFL is from week to week.
I do find it ridiculous the NFL treats marijuana the way it does, but those are also the rules, whether we like them or not. Reuben Foster getting arrested for marijuana possession is knuckle-headed behavior. I imagine he will have a lengthy chat with Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch sooner rather than later.