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Official: The NBA has removed cannabis from the list of prohibited substances

NBA officially signs contract removing marijuana from banned substances list and allowing players to invest in cannabis companies

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and its players' union have officially signed a collective bargaining agreement that removes marijuana from the league's banned substances list and establishes rules allowing players to invest in brands of cannabis and cannabis. promote it, with a few exceptions.

About two months after the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) reached an agreement on this seven-year contract, this has been signed and will come into force this weekend. The 676-page document contains a number of cannabis-related provisions, arguably the most significant of which is the removal of marijuana from the list of prohibited substances for players.

Players will also be allowed to “own a direct or indirect interest (with or without control) in an entity that produces or sells CBD products,” defined as cannabis containing up to 0,3% THC by dry weight, according to to the federal definition of legal hemp.

They can also invest in marijuana businesses, provided the investment is passive and the player's ownership is less than 50% of the business.

Another section of the collective bargaining agreement states that players “may participate in promoting or supporting a brand, product or service of an entity that produces or sells CBD products, at provided that the entity is not a marijuana business”.

However, “a player may apply to the NBA and the Players Association for permission to promote or endorse CBD products produced or sold by a marijuana business.”

This request must be in writing and include (A) a complete list of the products that the marijuana company produces or sells, (B) a complete list of all ingredients in those products, (C) a description of the activity of Player's proposed promotion or endorsement for the Marijuana Company's CBD products, and (D) a detailed summary of the non-financial terms of any proposed promotion or endorsement agreement between the Player and the Marijuana Company. Unless a player's request has been approved in writing by the NBA and the players' association, the player may not promote or endorse CBD products that are produced or sold by a marijuana company.

Promotion applications will be denied if CBD products associated with a marijuana business are “marketed or sold under a brand that also includes or references marijuana products” or if the promotion creates “a reasonable risk of public confusion with a marijuana product”.

The signed agreement also provides penalties for players convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and for those who “engaged in a crime involving the distribution of marijuana.”

It also places player cannabis use on par with alcohol use, stipulating that if an NBA team has “reasonable grounds to believe that the player was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance”, she will be liable to a fine.

“A player may seek assistance from the Medical Director at any time for addiction or any other problem related to marijuana or alcohol use,” another article states.

Players who fail to comply with a mandatory alcohol or marijuana treatment program also face disciplinary action, including a $5 fine for each day of non-compliance. Fines and penalties would increase for players who undergo mandatory treatment and exhibit a “pattern of behavior that demonstrates willful disregard of treatment responsibilities” or “test positive for marijuana and/or alcohol ( as the case may be) which is not clinically expected by the medical director”.

There will also be a voluntary treatment option for players seeking assistance regarding the use of synthetic cannabinoids like delta-8 THC. Voluntary entry into the program will not result in any sanctions. On the other hand, non-compliance with the rules after entering the program will be sanctioned by fines and possible suspensions.

The wholesale elimination of marijuana from the NBA's banned substances list officially codifies the league's decision to temporarily suspend cannabis testing for the past three seasons.

Marijuana icon and NBA commentator Snoop Dogg spoke out about the policy change in April, applauding the league for taking steps that would allow players to use cannabis for medical purposes, including as a potential alternative to opioids.

Michele Roberts, a former director of the NBPA who also joined the board of major cannabis company Cresco Labs in 2020, had predicted that a formal change to codify the policy could come soon.

In 2021, it was announced that online marijuana marketplace Weedmaps was teaming up with NBA star Kevin Durant for a multi-year partnership aimed at destigmatizing cannabis and highlighting the plant's potential value to the “ well-being and recovery of athletes”.

A growing number of professional leagues have taken steps to implement marijuana policy reforms as more states legalize cannabis.

For example, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) committee responsible for promoting the health and well-being of student athletes has proposed removing marijuana from the organization's banned substances list.

Earlier this year, Nevada athletic authorities voted to send the governor a proposed regulatory amendment that would formally protect athletes from penalties related to the use or possession of marijuana in the compliance with state law.

The UFC announced in 2021 that it would no longer sanction fighters for testing positive for marijuana.

The National Football League (NFL) scouting policy obviously changed in 2020 as part of a collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL and its players' union also announced this month that they are jointly awarding a new round of funding to support independent research into the therapeutic benefits of CBD as an alternative to opioids for the treatment of pain in players suffering from concussions.

Additionally, the Kansas City Royals recently partnered with a cannabis brand to promote education about the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD. It is the second Major League Baseball (MLB) team to do so after the Chicago Cubs.

MLB itself announced its partnership with a popular CBD brand last year. Charlotte’s Web Holdings, one of the country’s best-known hemp-derived CBD companies, has signed a deal with the league to become the “Official CBD of MLB.”

Tags : Medical Cannabis and Legislation
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