The National Basketball Association (NBA) has agreed to not randomly test players for cannabis during the upcoming season, continuing the policy which started during the “restart bubble” and was continued last season, the Associated Press reports. The league will still test for performance-enhancing drugs and drugs of abuse, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates.
“We have agreed with the [National Basketball Player’s Association] to extend the suspension of random testing for marijuana for the 2021-22 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse.” — NBA spokesman Mike Bass via the AP
Cannabis remains prohibited under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, but negotiations between the league and players’ association loosened restrictions.
Last year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that “it’s possible” the league’s decision to stop randomly drug testing for cannabis could be permanent, but the policy has only been extended each season rather than implemented long-term.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be talking to players who maybe aren’t using marijuana casually, but feel more of a dependency on it, because of the stress this year,” Silver said in December 2020. “And I’d say the same thing about alcohol or any other substance.”
Silver added that “given all the things that were happening in society, given all the pressures and stress that players were under” in 2020 he didn’t think the league needed to “act as Big Brother right now.”
“I think society’s views around marijuana has changed to a certain extent,” he said.
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