The NBA will no longer test for cannabis, according to a tentative deal between the league and the National Basketball Players Association. On Saturday, the two sides announced a collective bargaining agreement, which still needs to be ratified.
If the agreement is ratified by the players and team governors, the seven-year deal would include a stipulation that cannabis will be removed from the NBA’s drug testing program and players will no longer be penalized for using it, The Athletic reported.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) wrote: “Specific details will be made available once a term sheet is finalized.”
“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!” said NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio.
Three years ago, during the pandemic, the NBA reduced penalties for marijuana use, but never completely got rid of testing.
At the time, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league would instead “focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse.”
Will The NFL Be Next?
According to NBC’s ProfootballTalk, the NFL is holding on to its unpopular no-weed stance as part of collective bargaining, which means that the league wants to use the ban to negotiate with the NFL Players Association, at least for now.
“When states in which the NFL does business started to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the league hid behind the fact that it remains a controlled substance under federal law,” said ProfootballTalk.
Meanwhile, numerous NBA players, including Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant, Al Harrington, Isiah Thomas and many others have been open about their weed use and have advocated for cannabis legalization for years.
“I started smoking cannabis in college. During my sophomore year,” Iverson said.
Now a weed connoisseur, Iverson recently joined forces with Al Harrington’s Viola Brands to launch a line of cannabis products and merchandise under The Iverson Collection name.
Harrington along with Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, Ben Wallace, Ricky Williams, Rob Sims attended the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago last fall.
Photo by Ernest Toney: Benzinga Capital Cannabis Conference