J.R. Smith and Al Harrington Lobby to Legalize Cannabis in New York

Former New York Knicks basketball players Al Harrington and J.R. Smith visited Albany, New York to push for legalized cannabis in the state before the end of the legislative session.

Majority Assembly Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who is the sponsor of the recreational cannabis legislation, invited the basketball stars to provide star power to a bill that could possibly fail if lawmakers can’t come to an agreement by the end of the legislative session on June 19. Harrington said he and Smith had “expertise” in both medical and recreational cannabis and were pushing for black communities to be included in the legislation.

“It’s been very positive,” Harrington said of his meetings with legislators.  “You know this is something that they want, but they want to do it the right way. We met with a bunch of different assembly members and senators, legislators and just kind of just giving our opinion from our perspective being that we’re black.”

After retiring from the NBA, Harrington started the cannabis brand Viola, which produces a wide variety of cannabis flowers, vapes and extracts, and became an advocate for the benefits of medical cannabis after complications from a knee surgery near the end of his NBA career. Harrington most recently played in the BIG3, a three-on-three basketball league featuring retired professional basketball players. Last year, the BIG3 became the first U.S. based sports league to allow for the use of CBD.

Smith, a 13-year NBA veteran, has always been associated with cannabis during his NBA career, serving a suspension for a positive cannabis test in 2013 He also HAD to have been high during his Game 1 blunder during the 2018 NBA Finals. Smith currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, appearing in 11 games for the team this season.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo previously had plans to legalize cannabis within his first 100 days, however he expressed he doesn’t think legalization will happen this year.

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