NBA | Apr 04, 2023

NBA to allow marijuana use under new agreement

By Harry Bazley

NBA Game

The National Basketball Players Association has made a tentative deal with the league to no longer test for marijuana use amongst players.

On Saturday morning the announcement was made regarding the agreement, but it still needs to be ratified before it becomes official.

The new seven-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) would include a stipulation that marijuana will be removed from the drug testing program and NBA players will no longer be penalised for its use.

The process began after the NBA suspended testing for the drug in 2020 before announcing it would not conduct random testing the following year. This policy continued into the the 2021-22 COVID season.

As the drug is legal in many states across America, it seems that the NBA will be adopting a similarly lenient outlook on it’s use.

In a Netflix interview in 2022, Phoenix Suns forward, Kevin Durant, told David Letterman that he began smoking marijuana when he was 22 and that for him “it clears the distraction from your brain, it's like having a glass of wine.”

Durant went on to say that he wanted to “change the narrative” on marijuana and that it’s “crazy people are in jail for 20 years for selling a pound.”

Since then, NBA superstar J.R. Smith admitted to use of the drug during the COVID bubble period of the 2022 season in Orlando.

I’m glad it happened because it finally broke that barrier and that stigma that you couldn’t play and all of this, it was a drug, it was this and that. When you can be at peace with your mind, your body, and your soul, and you can go out there and just hoop, that’s all you want.

J.R. Smith

Currently, some other major leagues - including the NHL, MLB and UFC - do not penalise league players for using marijuana and the NBA is set to follow suit.

The agreement could also come with a stipulation to allow players to invest in cannabis companies.

The NBPA tweeted that "Specific details will be made available once a term sheet is finalized”, while the NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio followed up with his own comments.

Since day one, the goal of the NBPA in this negotiation was to protect our players, enrich their lives on and off the court, and establish a framework that recognizes our players as true partners with the governors in both the NBA and the business world at large!

Tamika Tremaglio

Could this be the catalyst for a new era in sports, where league policies align more with state and federal legislations?