With this year’s openly weed-powered NBA “bubble” being one of the few precious highlights of 2020, it’s not surprising that the league has announced it will extend the policy to not test players for marijuana into 2021, citing the pandemic as the reason for this shift.
"Due to the unusual circumstances in conjunction with the pandemic, we have agreed with the NBPA to suspend random testing for marijuana for the 2020-21 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse," NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in an official statement.
The NBA dropped weed testing this past summer when players from 22 of the league’s 30 teams were kept in a COVID-safe bubble at Disney World in Florida to play eight seeding games and a full round of playoffs. The LA Lakers ended up taking this year’s title.
If the players using cannabis inside the bubble was supposed to be a secret, it was certainly the worst-kept in the history of sports. Legendary NBA superstar Al Harris even shared one bit of advice for the bubble teams, happily advising them to “bring more weed than you need!”
Right now, players are reconvening to begin training for the 2020-2021 season, which will commence on December 22. It’s a solid bet that many of them will be righteously high AF throughout the process.
But with cannabis prohibition crumbling before our eyes, the question becomes: Will the NBA make this policy change permanent and, if so, when?
Michele Roberts, who heads the NBPA and joined the board of big-time cannabis company Cresco Labs this year, said, “We’re not going to expose our players to unnecessary risks. And it is not necessary to know whether our players are positive for marijuana.”
Even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated a change might be in order. Nonetheless, he is still given to making wishy-washy statements like this one: “At the end of the day, I think we all agree that, whether or not marijuana is a legal substance, just like with alcohol, you still have to teach young people how to use a substance like that appropriately and responsibly and so it doesn’t overwhelm your life. So, it’s a complicated issue.”
No, it’s not a complicated issue. It’s not even an issue at all. End NBA weed testing now and keep it that way. It’s a slam dunk for everyone.