Recent reports have indicated that the National Basketball Association (NBA) is striking cannabis from its list of banned drugs and ending marijuana testing for players. Athletic and Stadium reporter Shams Charania said that the NBA was removing cannabis testing as part of its new seven-year collective bargaining agreement and that the league had eliminated marijuana from its antidrug testing program.
The NBA’s stance on cannabis use among players has become more liberal in recent years. Last October, it was reported that the NBA would pause random cannabis drug tests for the third time in a row. Some insiders posited that the NBA would soon make the policy permanent, with journalist Ben Dowsett saying at the time that his sources had informed him the decision to halt cannabis screening would not be rescinded in the near future.
These speculations may have been right. In late 2020, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver indicated that the policy of scrapping cannabis tests would become permanent. This policy was initially implemented during the coronavirus pandemic when players were secluded in a quarantined bubble in Orlando to compete.
Silver said at the time that the league didn’t need to “act as Big Brother,” given the stress the players were under while competing in the quarantined bubble. Additionally, he said that society’s attitude toward cannabis had evolved and that the league would move away from mandatory blanket tests to talking to players who were exhibiting “signs of problematic dependency.”
Prior to the report of the potential ban, the National Basketball Players Association and the NBA had announced that they had worked out a “tentative agreement” on the new bargaining agreement but that the full details wouldn’t be publicized until they finalized a term sheet.
National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio said in a public statement that the association’s goal is to protect players while enriching their lives both on and off the basketball court.
Cannabis use by professional athletes has been quite a sticky issue in recent months. The discussion became especially heated after American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was suspended from participating in the Tokyo Olympics due to a failed THC test.
Although the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chose to keep cannabis on its banned substances list, America’s Major League Baseball (MLB) partnered with a CBD firm as its first marijuana sponsor. In 2021, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) also announced that it would stop punishing fighters who failed cannabis tests.
These changes within the sporting fraternity come amid changing attitudes at the general societal level, which have seen marijuana companies thrive alongside ancillary enterprises such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) in states where the drug is legal.
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