Players welcome new NBA cannabis investment opportunities

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Players welcome new NBA cannabis investment opportunities

NBA Takes Progressive Stance on Cannabis Investment and Promotion for Players

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) has reportedly made a landmark decision to remove marijuana from its banned substance list for players. But the league is not stopping there as it plans to allow players to invest in and promote cannabis companies. This new seven-year collective bargaining agreement came together over the weekend and is expected to remove drug testing requirements for marijuana.

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NBA’s Cannabis Investment Policy

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium was the first to report on the cannabis investment policy. According to Charania, “NBA players will no longer be prohibited from marijuana under the new seven-year Collective Bargaining Agreement.” The league has formally codified what has been a temporary suspension of cannabis testing for the past three seasons.

NBA: Leading the Way in Marijuana Reform

Many professional sports leagues have been moving in the direction of removing marijuana from their list of banned substances. However, the NBA is taking it a step further by allowing players to invest in and promote cannabis companies. This move sets the NBA apart as especially progressive on the issue.

Last year, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that teams could sell sponsorships to CBD businesses. The league has since signed a deal with a major CBD brand that it plans to promote at the upcoming World Series. However, NBA’s policy appears to be more expansive.

NBA Commissioner Signals Permanent Policy Change

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver signaled in late 2020 that the league’s temporary policies could eventually become permanent after the league initially suspended cannabis testing when players competed in a quarantined “bubble” in Orlando at the start of the coronavirus pandemic earlier that year. Silver noted that given all the things that were happening in society, the league did not need to act as Big Brother right now. He also pointed out that society’s views around marijuana had changed to a certain extent.

League Will Not Mandate Blanket Tests

Rather than mandate blanket tests, the NBA would be reaching out to players who show signs of problematic dependency, not those who are “using marijuana casually.” The league is making it clear that it will continue to monitor player behavior and intervene if it feels that a player’s cannabis use is negatively impacting their performance on the court.

The Role of Cannabis in Athlete Wellness and Recovery

In 2021, it was announced that the online marijuana marketplace Weedmaps is teaming up with NBA star Kevin Durant for a multi-year partnership that’s aimed at destigmatizing cannabis and showcasing the plant’s potential value for “athlete wellness and recovery.” This partnership is another example of how the sports world is beginning to embrace cannabis as a natural alternative to prescription opioids.

Sha’Carri Richardson’s Suspension From Olympics Spurs National Discussion

This latest action from the NBA comes as the national discussion about cannabis testing policies for athletes continues to unfold. The issue made international headlines following the suspension of U.S. runner Sha’Carri Richardson from participating in the Olympics over a positive THC test. Richardson said that she’d feel “blessed and proud” if the attention her case raised would affect a policy change for other athletes. Even the White House and President Joe Biden himself weighed in on the case, suggesting that there’s a question about whether the marijuana ban should “remain the rules.”

However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided last year to keep marijuana on the list of banned substances for international athletes following a scientific review and a determination that cannabis use “violates the spirit of sport.”

MLB and NCAA Also Relaxing Cannabis Testing Rules

MLB has stood out among other professional sports leagues as more willing to respond to the changing marijuana policy landscape. In 2019, it removed cannabis from the league’s list of banned substances. That rule change was followed up by a memo in 2020 clarifying that players will not be punished for using cannabis while they aren’t working. However, they still cannot be personally sponsored by a marijuana company or hold investments in the industry. The league is also teaming with NSF International to analyze and certify legal, contaminant-free CBD products in order to allow teams to store them on club premises.

In addition, the NCAA recently recommended that student athletes who test positive for marijuana will no longer automatically lose their eligibility to play. UFC also announced in 2021 that they would no longer be punishing fighters over positive marijuana tests.

The NFL’s drug testing policy also changed in 2020 as part of a collective bargaining agreement. NFL players no longer face the possibility of being suspended from games over positive tests for any drug—not just marijuana. Instead, they will face a fine. The threshold for what constitutes a positive THC test was also increased under the deal.

Cannabis and sports were also a topic of discussion amid the detention of U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner in Russia over THC vapes. Overall, these developments signal a significant shift in the sports world’s attitude towards cannabis use, and the NBA is leading the charge.

Conclusion

The NBA’s decision to remove marijuana from its banned substances list for players and allow them to invest in and promote cannabis companies is a progressive move that sets it apart from other professional sports leagues. The league’s temporary policies have now been formally codified, and the commissioner has signaled that they could eventually become permanent. This decision reflects changing societal attitudes towards marijuana, and the league’s focus on monitoring player behavior and intervening if necessary is a responsible approach. The partnership between Weedmaps and Kevin Durant underscores the potential value of cannabis in athlete wellness and recovery. As other sports leagues also begin to relax their cannabis testing rules, it is clear that the sports world is embracing the benefits of cannabis as a natural alternative to prescription opioids.

FAQs

  1. When will the NBA’s new cannabis investment policy go into effect?
  • Details of the new seven-year collective bargaining agreement are pending ratification by players and team governors, and the term sheet has not yet been finalized.
  1. Can NBA players use marijuana without any restrictions now?
  • While marijuana has been removed from the NBA’s list of banned substances, the league will continue to monitor player behavior and intervene if it feels that a player’s cannabis use is negatively impacting their performance on the court.
  1. How is the NBA’s policy on cannabis investment different from other sports leagues?
  • While other leagues have relaxed their policies on marijuana use, the NBA’s decision to allow players to invest in and promote cannabis companies sets it apart as especially progressive on the issue.
  1. Is cannabis use now widely accepted in sports?
  • While attitudes towards cannabis use are changing, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) still considers marijuana a banned substance for international athletes.
  1. What is the potential value of cannabis in athlete wellness and recovery?
  • The partnership between Weedmaps and NBA star Kevin Durant is aimed at destigmatizing cannabis and showcasing its potential value for athlete wellness and recovery as a natural alternative to prescription opioids.
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