NBA players will be allowed to smoke weed starting next season: report

Apr 3 2023, 6:59 pm

NBA players are going to have a little more freedom off the court next season, per a new report.

In the league’s pending seven-year collective bargaining agreement set to begin in the 2023-24 season, players across the league will not have to fear being suspended or fined for consuming marijuana.

“NBA players will no longer be penalized for using marijuana under the agreement as it has been removed from the drug testing program,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Mike Vorkunov reported over the weekend.

The statement still needs to be officially ratified, as the deal is tentative, though it is expected to go through per The Athletic’s report.

Marijuana use in the NBA — and other sports — has been a touchy subject for years.

As the drug is not of the performance-enhancing variety, many advocates have argued there shouldn’t be any penalties for athletes using the substance recreationally, to relax after a tough practice or game, or for whatever reason they choose to consume it.

The NBA previously stopped marijuana testing in the 2020 bubble following a COVID-19-related pause league-wide.

Several of the highest-profile — if you’ll pardon the pun — NBA players have spoken openly as marijuana advocates.

“To me, it clears the distractions out of your brain a little bit. Settles you down. It’s like having a glass of wine,” Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant told David Letterman in a 2022 interview on Netflix.

Meanwhile, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard was among those to come to support American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who was unable to compete in the 100-metre race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for marijuana following her win at the US Olympic Trials.

At the same time, the governing bodies of most major sporting federations have traditionally taken a hard zero-tolerance stance on marijuana and other drugs, with fines and suspensions being the typical punishment for a positive test.

However, marijuana penalties have been all but rescinded in many leagues, including the NHL, as legalization and decriminalization have widened across North America.

“A single positive test for marijuana remains confidential and will not be subject to a follow-up unless it reaches a near-toxic level,” Sportsnet’s Gare Joyce reported about the NHL back in 2018.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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