Former commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) David Stern sat down with now-retired NBA player Al Harrington in a great episode of the UNINTERRUPTED documentary. The pair sat down to talk about cannabis use in the league. In the episode Stern, a formerly staunch opponent of cannabis use among players enlightens us on the exact reason his stance on cannabis and the NBA has changed since his time as commissioner.
"I'm now at the point where, personally, I think (cannabis) probably should be removed from the ban-list," Stern said in his interview on the show. "I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal."
Stern, now 75-years-old, cracked down on drug use in the NBA with a driving force on shutting down cannabis use. He states that this is because players were showing up to games noticeably high on cannabis and he needed to make it clear that wasn’t legal in the league. Now he believes that there is enough evidence as to the medical benefit of the plant that the NBA should reassess their current rules.
In June of this year, Pistons forward Reggie Bullock and Pacers guard Monta Ellis were both suspended for violating the league’s anti-drug program. The length of their suspensions (5 games) was the tell that the drug they tested positive for was cannabis, and it was probably for the third time. Stern believes that in order for cannabis to be accepted in the NBA and for these types of suspensions to come to an end, the NBA doctors need to step out in support of cannabis as a valid treatment for pain management.
"I don't think there's been a proper spokesperson for this subject," Stern continued in the conversation with Harrington, "I think that if medical marijuana is available, then it's up to the individual team doctor. You tell me that it worked for you and it worked for others that you know, then we should find a way to get that defined and made official and then proceed to educating team docs."
Harrington enlightened us in the same interview that he started using CBD for the anti-inflammatory properties following his botched knee surgery in 2012. In his 16-year career, he never failed a drug test, but he does believe that about 70% of professional athletes smoke cannabis. His testimony serves as a sign that even the ‘non-stoner’ players are advocating for the plant’s release.
Stern believes that the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement should be amended so that players in legal cannabis states may partake in cannabis as it is legal in their state. These types of changes will be easier if the league’s doctors step out in support of the medicinal value of the plant.
What do you think about professional athletes and cannabis? Should they be allowed to light up?Posted: Tuesday, October 31st, 10:20am a year ago
Cara Wietstock is a native Californian living in Washington state with almost a decade of budtender experience and even more stoner experience. While she's not pontificating on the current state of cannabis for Roottie, she is practicing yoga, sipping CBD infused teas and hiking through the Pacific Northwest.