FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Cannabis is knocking at the NFL’s door, but it cannot get in.

Not however, at least.

The household of the New England Patriots has a new sponsorship deal that will place a cannabidiol company’s hemp leaf logo on a water tower looming more than the stadium and on a sign overlooking an entrance.

Former Patriots tight finish Rob Gronkowski was on hand to announce the deal with Gillette Stadium and Patriot Location, a mall also controlled by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, that brings the banned substance to the doorstep of the NFL without having violating league policies against it.

“We are not permitted to be inside the stadium itself,” mentioned Perry Antelman, the CEO of Rhode Island-primarily based Abacus Overall health Items. “This is up to the NFL. I know that they are operating with and studying option medicines to support the athletes.”

The NFL drug policy, which is negotiated with the players’ union, bans teams and active players from sponsorship bargains with cannabinoids, which include things like marijuana but also hemp-primarily based merchandise like CBD that do not include things like the higher-inducing THC. The league tests for THC and advises players not to take CBD merchandise due to the fact they may include it.

But as states commence to lift or loosen their prohibitions on marijuana, important sports leagues are reconsidering their bans on therapeutic and even recreational cannabis use. An NFL committee formed in Might is hoping to establish policies on the use of prescription medication and on discomfort management, such as option therapies that could no cost players to use CBD.

“We hear that it is coming about. No matter if that is six months, nine months, 12 months or 18 months, we do not know however,” Antelman mentioned. “When it does come about, we’re hoping that will be a single of the very first to be in the stadium.”

Gronkowski, who retired final spring at 29, is no cost to endorse the solution, CBDMEDIC. But unless the guidelines alter he could not make a a great deal-rumored comeback without having severing ties with the enterprise.

“I do not want to be banned from playing the sport I adore due to the fact I’m utilizing a solution that I can purchase, or anybody can purchase, at their regional pharmacy appropriate off the shelf. It is that easy. I also want to have the alternative to get back into the game and if I’m banned subsequent year, I cannot,” he mentioned, reading off a teleprompter just before going off script and pointing at members of the audience. “You know you want to see me out there. … I know you do.”

While he was identified as a partyer in his playing days, Gronkowski insisted he was coming out only for CBD and not recreational drug use, and due to the fact he thinks it could have helped him endure the discomfort of an NFL season. He recounted some of his operations and other injuries, down to the opposing player and the spot on his physique that ached afterward.

“I’m not advocating for marijuana but for CBD. And not for partying, but for recovering,” he mentioned, adding: “You know me, a tiny celebration in there.”