Is The NBA Changing Its Stance On Marijuana?

NBA Won’t Drug Test For Cannabis During Upcoming “Bubble” Season

Like many sports organizations, the National Basketball Association has been quite strict towards players regarding marijuana use. But new developments suggest that the league could be turning over a new leaf. Could a post-coronavirus NBA allow players to use marijuana for the first time ever? Let’s look at the evidence:

 NBA Players Will Be Allowed To Smoke Weed In “The Bubble”


In a controversial decision, the NBA has been granted a return this summer despite the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc throughout the U.S. Twenty two teams will compete in a shortened season starting July 31. All games will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, meaning players will be kept on the facility’s grounds throughout the entire season.

The league has not conducted drug tests on the players during the coronavirus pandemic since there were no games anyway. Notably, players will be allowed to consume cannabis without facing any repercussions. The league will not conduct recreational drug tests, although performance enhancing drugs are still strictly off the table.

READ MORE: Kevin Durant Calls For Cannabis To Be Removed From The NBA’s Banned Substance List

The NBA’s Commissioner Has Hinted At Having An Open Mind


NBA commissioner Adam Silver used to be seen as a staunch advocate for the NBA’s arguably-harsh marijuana policy. Two violations would lead to a $25,000 fine, and further violations would lead to five-game suspensions.

But Silver shared his thoughts in a recent interview with Yahoo Sports – and he doesn’t sound quite as set in his ways. Particularly, he discussed how marijuana is being eyed by scientists for its positive qualities, like pain relief:

“I think that, clearly to the extent it has medicinal qualities, those are things that we should be looking at. Where it’s in terms of pain relief, of course. And that’s something that’s being studied, not just by us. The NFL recently announced they’re studying that issue, as well. And we should look at it.”

Silver still sounds reluctant to some degree, as he fears what effects lifting the ban may have on young NBA fans:

“I think when we change our policy, we have to be very careful, because clearly we’re going to be sending a message to a lot of young people. And at the end of the day, I think we all agree that, whether or not marijuana is a legal substance, just like with alcohol, you still have to teach young people how to use a substance like that appropriately and responsibly and so it doesn’t overwhelm your life.”

Could Michele Roberts Be The Answer Pro-Pot Players Are Looking For?

NBA Players Union Executive Director Michele Roberts may be a key player in the proposed ban lift, if it ever truly happens. Roberts recently joined the board of directors for Cresco Labs, a multi-state marijuana operator. Notably, Roberts is the first woman and person of colour to join the company’s board.

Roberts has suggested that she supports players’ right to use cannabis, but believes that more medical research needs to be done on the plant:

“Everyone claims to have done their own independent study. What we want to do is agree on some experts that can sit down and talk to us. My own view is that there are substantial signs that support its efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management. We’re in talks with the league to see where we can go with it.”

NBA fans from years past would be shocked to see how close the league has come to allowing players to get high. As the stigma against marijuana lifts itself by the minute, it’s only a matter of time before sports leagues rethink their rules – and we’re excited to see it happen.