Medical cannabis is legal in 29 states, but NBA players who live and play in states with legalized cannabis aren’t allowed to consume. Executive Director of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Michele Roberts, believes that there are “substantial signs that support its efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management.”
Current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that if the science behind medical cannabis checks out, the league would be open to legalizing cannabis. Under the NBA’s current rules, cannabis consumption is banned along with other drugs like LSD and cocaine, and players can be suspended or put into drug treatment programs if they test positive.
Many current and former NBA players have come out in favor of the NBA looking into medical cannabis. Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns and former NBA Commissioner David Stern have supported the idea of the league taking a closer look at the medical benefits to cannabis. Former NBA player Al Harrington has been an outspoken supporter of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and he also owns Viola Extracts, a vaporizer and extract company, and Harrington Wellness, a product line focusing on CBD and recovery.
While Roberts is optimistic that public policies and league rules will eventually change, she is also worried that if the NBA did get on board with the legal consumption of cannabis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions could crack down on the players for doing something that is legal in more than half the country. Sessions rescinded an Obama-era rule that offered protection to individuals and businesses in states with legal cannabis.
“If we do go down that road, we have to protect our players from—my words—a crazed attorney general who says he will prosecute violations of the law involving marijuana and he doesn’t care what individual states say,” Roberts added.