The National Basketball Association is ready to allow its players to use cannabis for medical purposes. That is according to an NBA official that represents the players.
National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Executive Director Michele Roberts expressed in an SB Nation interview that she supports lifting the league’s medical cannabis ban in the future.
Roberts said there are substantial signs supporting the efficacy and value of medical cannabis, especially when it comes to pain management. Roberts believes, based on data about cannabis, that the drug can help players deal with injuries that are related to the sport.
According to her, they are in talks with the league regarding the matter.
In yet another interview, Roberts revealed that the NBPA is currently examining studies and research on medical cannabis and is taking a look at what the scientists are saying about the drug.
Roberts predicted that the obvious future of cannabis is for it to be decriminalized throughout the country. She said that if the league and the NBPA would go down the road of allowing cannabis consumption, they also have to protect the players from a “crazed attorney general” who will prosecute violations of federal cannabis laws and who does not care what the states have to say. “In other words, I don’t want my guys to be arrested by some Fed at airports for cannabis possession,” she added.
Roberts was referring to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had always been vocal about his anti-cannabis position and who had earlier directed federal prosecutors to enforce federal cannabis laws regardless of a state’s cannabis reform laws. So while she is optimistic that the league’s rules and the public policies on cannabis will change eventually, she is still worried about Sessions’ anti-legalization stance.
“I don’t want my guys to be arrested by some Fed at airports for cannabis possession.” – National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Executive Director Michele Roberts
Roberts’ statements are not exactly a surprise since several former and current NBA players, as well as executives, have already expressed support for allowing the use of cannabis.
For one, former NBA Commissioner David Stern had endorsed the league’s removal of penalties for players using cannabis. Last year, he said that he is at the point where he thinks cannabis should be removed from the league’s banned list.
Roberts said that after Stern’s statement, she got some calls and they started to discuss internally with their players and with the league, to some extent, to at least look into the possibility.
Current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also expressed that he is open to considering a ban lift, saying that it is something they will look at. He also said he is interested in the science behind medical cannabis.
He clarified, however, that his personal view is for the drug to be regulated in the same manner as other medications are if it is to be used for pain management. He said it is something that they need to discuss with the NBPA, but to the extent science demonstrates there are effective uses for therapeutic reasons.
It can be recalled that in August last year, Silver said he does not see the need for any changes in the current cannabis policies of the league. He told the Players’ Tribune that the players are always traveling, so it could be a problem, considering that cannabis is legal in certain states but illegal in others.
If the players find themselves in a position where they are traveling with cannabis, the league would obviously be in trouble, he explained.
Right now, cannabis is a banned substance in the league. The NBA has eight teams in home states where cannabis is legal for adult use, including four teams from the state of California, one team from Colorado, one team from Oregon, one team from Massachusetts, and one team from Washington D.C.