NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association no longer considers cannabis a prohibited substance, thanks to a clause in the league’s new labor agreement with the NBA Players Association. The agreement makes permanent the temporary policy changes introduced in 2020.
Under the new policy, the league will no longer randomly screen players for cannabis use; however, players suspected of “cannabis dependency” may be referred to the medical director for evaluation and recommendations.
The agreement also allows players to “participate in the promotion or endorsement of any brand, product, or service of an entity that produces or sells CBD products, as long as the entity isn’t a marijuana company.”
The NBA is the second major professional sports organization to drop its ban on cannabis. Major League Baseball instituted similar rules changes in December 2019; in October 2022, the league signed a multiyear sponsorship deal making Charlotte’s Web “the official CBD of Major League Baseball.”
The National Hockey League and National Football league continue to test players for cannabis use, but neither suspends players who test positive.
Academic-related leagues also are moving toward reform. In June, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports recommended removing cannabis from the association’s banned drug list and testing protocols. The NCAA may take action on the recommendation in the fall after soliciting input from its members.