Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA, announced on Monday the league is “open” to accepting medical marijuana, provided the science is up to snuff and substantiates the medicinal claims.
Currently, within the NBA, it’s perfectly legal for players to seek relief from chronic pain by slamming a toxic concoction of pharmaceuticals, but not with medical marijuana.
Uttered during an Israel interview at a Basketball Without Borders event, the Commissioner revealed the NBA is willing to pivot on their current position, acknowledging the topic of medical marijuana “needs to be discussed with our players Association.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver on the use of medical marijuana in the league pic.twitter.com/2AcoT1uXIk
— ouriel daskal (@odaskal) August 14, 2017
NBA Marijuana Violations and Penalties
- 1st violation: mandatory completion of substance abuse program
- 2nd violation: $25,000 fine, no suspension
- 3rd violation: 5-game suspension
- 4th violation 10-game suspension (5 game suspension for each positive test thereafter)
As Silver waits for the scientific community to demonstrate the “effective uses” of medical marijuana, others are taking a more proactive approach.
Cannabis vs. Pharmaceuticals
The head coach of Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr, is encouraging the NBA to recognize medical marijuana as a healthier alternative to pain relief.
Kerr told SB Nation, “Athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal. There’s like this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine, but pot is bad. Now, I think that’s changing.”
Open for discussion, the acceptance of medical marijuana by the NBA would raise several interesting questions during any future collective-bargaining agreement.
Left to the lawyers and player representatives to smoke-out the details, I can only imagine one of the first issues addressed would seek to establish a player’s right to participate in a game while medicated — as prescribed by a doctor.