David Stern, the former head chief executive of the NBA, said it’s time to repeal the ban on ballers smoking weed.
“I think it’s time to take a whole new look at it,” Stern said regarding the NBA's anti-cannabis policies during a CNBC interview on Wednesday.
Stern ran the NBA for nearly 30 years before he retired in 2014. And one of the last things he did before his exit was draft the NBA’s most recent drug policies, which requires four random urine tests per year for the association’s players. Players aren’t drug tested during the off-season.
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Stern said he wrote the policy after players complained about their peers getting blazed just before, during, or after a game. Yet, times are changing, and marijuana no longer bears the same social stigma it did just a decade ago.
“You don’t want players drinking beer at halftime,” he added. “And you don’t want them smoking joints at halftime. But if it’s a controlled usage and has a viable, legitimate use, why not?”
As for what constitutes “legitimate use,” Stern suggested pain management as a big one. “In many cases in sports, the opioid crisis begins with players being prescribed pills for their pain,” he said. “And if there is another substance, whether it be CBD or THC that eases pain, then I’m all for it.”
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Although pro sports leagues catch a lot of flak for their strict anti-drug policies, the NBA may be the most lax when it comes to weed. As Brendan Gallagher wrote for MERRY JANE in 2017, the NBA’s punishments for weed are essentially slaps on the wrists, whereas the NFL’s punishments can completely derail a player’s career after a first or second infraction.
Repealing the NBA’s current weed rules could save the association, its players, and the fans a ton of headaches, as well. Practically every month, another baller gets caught with cannabis, which ultimately leads to negative press, suspensions, lost income, and broken hearts. And why? It’s just weed. It’s not as if cannabis kills 88,000 Americans every year, unlike other substances.
Besides, former players and coaches aren’t being shy about their cannabis use, cultivation, and public support these days, either. Shit, ex-NBA star Al Harrington launched his own weed brand last year. It’s just a matter of time before the current contract stars are hocking their own CBD sports drinks, too.
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