The National Basketballers Association (NBA) will no longer test for cannabis use in the 2020–2021 season, following a suspension on drug testing during a COVID-19-induced pause on the game.
Amid an ongoing series of wins for the broader cannabis industry, The NBA recently announced it would not be carrying out randomized tests for marijuana during the 2020–21 season.
This move follows recent legislative gains made by the cannabis industry, such as the plant having been made legal in 5 states in the U.S. in November, the MORE Act passing in congress, and the U.N. recently removing cannabis from the Schedule IV category.
Speaking on the justification of the NBA to stop testing for marijuana use, a spokesperson for the NBA, Mike Bass said: “Due to the unusual circumstances in conjunction with the pandemic, we have agreed with the NBPA to suspend random testing for marijuana for the 2020–21 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse.”
The NBA previously halted the 2020 NBA season due to COVID-19, during which the National Basketball Players Association confirmed that players won’t be drug tested during its shutdown.
Now, as the NBA season returns, albeit with only 72 games compared with the ordinary 82-game schedule, players will not be tested for cannabis use until the end of the 2021 season.
Cannabis is becoming increasingly prevalent for medical use, for conditions such as epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer pain and inflammation, with famous athletes such as MMA fighter Elias Theodorou championing cannabis use within sports as an alternative to potentially dangerous opioids.
Other sports such as Major League Baseball officially removed cannabis from its list of “drugs of abuse,” shifting focus onto fentanyl, opioids cocaine and synthetic THC rather than marijuana use last December.
Whether more sports begin to follow the NBA and MLB’s suit and allow for cannabis use remains to be seen, however, as cannabis medicines become increasingly seen as legitimate, it will become harder for these organizations to turn a blind eye to the plant.