The NBA is one sports association that we all know have been very strong on their stance regarding marijuana but are we witnessing a change in the system? The reason why this question is being asked is because of recent happenings and announcements with the restart of the “bubble” tournament which has made many ask the question ‘is the NBA pro-marijuana now?’
A detailed analysis
It must first be noted that the coronavirus pandemic lockdown caused the NBA season to go on an indefinite pause till the world can put a lid on the Corona virus situation. This pause went on for over 5 months! Exceeding the period of a normal NBA offseason. The NBA went to great lengths to put together a bubble restart so the season won’t be a total loss. However, an interesting turn of events caught the eye of the majority of people. The NBA upon the restart has announced along that a suspension was placed on the testing for recreational drugs. Players were not subjected to tests for recreational drugs for the first time in a really long time. Although this new stance is not permanent yet, it still incites the question of the possibility of this being a permanent change in policy from the NBA.
Discussions regarding the policy of the NBA regarding the use of marijuana has certainly been on the table for a considerable amount of time between the NBA and the players association. The wide spread acceptance of the use of marijuana in different states as well as it’s legalization in a lot of states has also without a doubt intensified this discussions.
Is the sports world seeing the light?
The NBA would not be the first sports association to look into their marijuana use policy and the testing of players in recent times. The MLB had announced earlier this year that its players will no longer be tested for cannabis although the league is still barred from being sponsored by marijuana companies it was definitely a step in the right direction. Also toeing that line is the decision of the NFL to end suspensions for positive tests and limiting the testing window which is a significant change from the previous policy being operated in the NFL in terms of marijuana use.
An interesting twist
The attention being focused on the stance of the NBA on their policy on recreational drugs has also been helped by the recent happenings involving Michele Roberts who has been sitting as the director of the National Basketball Players Association since 2014. News surfaced that Michele was going to be sitting on the board of Creso Labs, a known national cannabis company where she will be the first female board member. Michele who has always been vocal on her view that the NBA needs to come back to the table to review their stand regarding recreational drugs like marijuana and their testing for it. In her own words, Michele has stated that the NBPA has been in talks with the league regarding the issue as there have been substantial signs that the product is efficacious in the management of pain along with other beneficial reasons why players might want to use it.
Her views are obviously in line with the views of Creso Labs as they are a quality brand with a mission statement of ensuring that medicinal cannabis is used to treat conditions and illnesses where other traditional methods are not suitable.
Not the first time we’re going down this road
There has been a lot of advocation for a change in the policy of the NBA on marijuana use in times past as many notable persons and former players have come out to put it to the NBA to change their policies. One such person is Kevin Durant who has been very vocal in times past concerning his views on the subject of policy on recreational drugs. The statements made by Kevin Durant showed that many parties involved are pressuring the NBA to remove marijuana from the list of substances that it has blacklisted players from using. Sources have shown that a lot of players in the NBA consume cannabis during the off-season as a recreational drug and many do not see the reasons why it should be blacklisted since it doesn’t qualify as a performance-enhancing drug and many even use it for medicinal reasons.
The NBA in their own defense has been resolute in their stance regarding the substance in times past as the NBA Commissioner has always stated that care must be taken in such matters as the NBA is an example to many young ones which makes this a complicated issue. He opines that players can use marijuana in the off-season for whatever purposes they want to use them for be it for their recreational use and for medicinal use but the policy and regulation for its use during the season still stands.
A review into the policy of the NBA on the issue of marijuana use among players which has been longstanding gives a good picture of the present stand of things. The Anti-Drug Program for NBA players serves the function of deterring and detecting the use of drugs of abuse like opiates, cocaine, marijuana, steroids, performance-enhancing drugs, masking agents, and diuretics. If a player tests positive for the use of marijuana, pleads guilty, or is convicted of the use or possession of marijuana, such player is subjected to testing, counseling and testing after the care under the program. A second violation, however, opens such a player to a fine of $25,000 and a third violation will result in suspension for a period of 5 days. Many are of the opinion that this stand of the NBA in classifying marijuana among the other pool of substances should be reviewed and other notable names in the business who have joined their voice to this cause include Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, and J. R. Smith.
The new turn of events and temporary change we’re seeing in the NBA certainly shows a promising future for those looking for a change in the policy of the NBA regarding the matter. Though the present situation is still not a permanent status quo, it still gives promise to those advocating the cause and in no time, we could be looking at a pro marijuana NBA!
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