In 29 states, medicinal marijuana is legal. In eight states and Washington DC, recreational weed use is now legal. It’s time for the NBA and NFL to catch up, and former NBA commissioner David Stern agrees.
Uninterrupted created a mini-documentary, The Concept of Cannabis produced by former NBA player, Al Harrington. The 15-year NBA vet hung up his sneakers four years ago and is now a full time ganjapreneur. He launched Viola extracts, a cannabis concentrates brand headquartered in Denver. It’s cultivation and production facilities set up legal weed hot spots across the country. He spoke with David Stern about what can be done to make medical mary jane available for players.
Stern was the league’s commissioner through the some of the darkest times in the NBA for drug use. Currently the association has a strict ban on all types of marijuana. However, the new research and the fact that attitudes towards weed use have changed, Stern says it should be removed from the banned substance list.
“I’m now at the point where, personally, I think (marijuana) probably should be removed from the ban list,” Stern said. “I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”
Stern says the best way is for the player’s union to collectively bargain for it.
“I think we have to change the collective bargaining agreement and let you do what is legal in your state,” Stern said. “If marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, I think you should be allowed to do what’s legal in your state. So now I think it’s up to the sports leagues to anticipate where this is going and maybe lead the way.”
Some people feel his change of heart is too little, too late – but time creates a different perspective. Stern points out that their rules were put in place to be consistent with what society believed at the time, that weed was a “gateway drug.” Now research has shown the benefits that marijuana offers in pain management. He also said that once bug tobacco figures out how they can get their cut of the business, they’ll likely fund the study that opens the door to medical use in the NFL and NBA.
This also serves as a reminder that the two leagues with the harshest polices related to weed use, also have the highest concentration of black players.