An official NBA Spalding basketball sitting on some grass on a sunny day.

Michael Saechang

NBA Commissioner Defends Cannabis Ban, Cites State Law Discrepancies

In an interview with the Players’ TribuneNBA commissioner Adam Silver indicated he doesn’t “see the need for any changes” in the league’s cannabis policy “right now” because of the patchwork of cannabis laws state-to-state throughout the U.S.

“…As you know, our players are constantly traveling, and it might be a bit of a trap to say we’re going to legalize it in these states, but no, it’s illegal in other states,” Silver said in the interview. “And then players get in a position where they’re traveling with marijuana, and we’re obviously getting into trouble.”

The NBA is home to eight teams in states with legalized adult cannabis use, including the Washington Wizards from Washington, D.C.; four teams hail from California, one from Colorado, one from Massachusetts, and one from Oregon.

While the league still suspends players for cannabis use, the ban is limited to five games. Earlier this year, Steve Kerr, the coach who last season led the Golden State Warriors to a championship — their second in three years — admitted to trying medical cannabis to ease chronic back pain; however, he said “it didn’t work” for him.

Kerr added that he believes “it’s only a matter of time” before medical cannabis is an accepted therapy in all of the major sports leagues because, eventually, “the education will overwhelm the perception.”

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