NBA Legalizes Marijuana Use Among Players
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 402
The NBA, the world's strongest basketball league, has reached a historic agreement with the NBA Players Association (NBPA) on the legalization of marijuana. This comes as the leaders of the NBA and the NBPA are in negotiations over a new seven-year collective agreement, where the consumption of marijuana was one of the key points discussed.
Extension of Suspension of Random Testing
Drug testing will continue for things such as human growth hormone and performance-enhancers, along with what the league calls "drugs of abuse" such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates.
However, the league's agreement with the NBPA over random marijuana tests will continue for at least one more season. As NBA spokesman Mike Bass stated, "We have agreed with the NBPA to extend the suspension of random testing for marijuana for the 2021-22 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse." The NBA becomes the second major North American sports federation to legalize marijuana, following the American UFC, the strongest MMA organization in the world.
The move towards the decriminalization of marijuana has been a major topic at the government level and in the sports world for years.
Advocacy by Prominent Basketball Players
One of the biggest proponents of marijuana consumption among basketball players is superstar Kevin Durant.
He revealed last year that he tried marijuana at the age of 22 and uses it regularly. The suspension of American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson from the U.S. Olympic team following a positive test for marijuana sparked advocacy for the decriminalization of marijuana.
U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamie Raskin wrote to U.S. and global anti-doping leaders, stating in part, "the ban on marijuana is a significant and unnecessary burden on athletes' civil liberties." The legalization of marijuana in the NBA marks a step forward for athlete's civil liberties and could pave the way for other major sports organizations to follow suit.
The continued suspension of random testing for marijuana will allow players to consume it without fear of consequences, while the focus on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse will ensure the integrity of the sport remains intact.