NBA Strikes Marijuana Off Prohibited Substances List and Discontinues Cannabis Drug Testing

NBA Strikes Marijuana Off Prohibited Substances List and Discontinues Cannabis Drug Testing

A New Seven-Year Collective Bargaining Agreement

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has made a ground-breaking decision to remove cannabis from its list of prohibited substances, thus ending player drug testing for cannabis use.

This surprising move is part of a new seven-year collective bargaining agreement, cementing the league’s provisional halt on cannabis testing that has spanned the last three seasons. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver alluded to the possibility of making this interim policy permanent back in late 2020, and it has now materialized.

A Shift from Comprehensive Drug Tests

The NBA has chosen to move away from blanket drug tests for marijuana. Instead, the league will concentrate on engaging with players who display signs of problematic dependency, without targeting those who casually use cannabis.

The National Basketball Players Association’s Influence

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has played a critical role in the NBA’s policy transformation. Michele Roberts, a former head of the NBPA and current board member of major cannabis company Cresco Labs, had anticipated that a formal change to solidify the policy could be on the horizon.

NFL’s Evolving Drug Testing Policy

The National Football League (NFL) modified its drug testing policy in 2020, as part of a collective bargaining agreement. NFL players no longer risk being suspended from games for positive tests for any drug, including marijuana. Instead, they will face fines, and the threshold for what constitutes a positive THC test has been raised under the new agreement.

Cannabis and Sports: An Emerging Relationship

The intersection of cannabis and sports has become a point of discussion, with Snoop Dogg advocating for sports leagues to stop testing players for cannabis.

The detention of U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner in Russia over THC vapes has further fueled the debate. It remains to be seen whether Delta-8 drug tests could become relevant in the future as leagues continue to reconsider their stance on cannabis.

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