The NBA has agreed to not randomly test players for marijuana this season. This continues the policy put in place last year for the COVID-19 “restart bubble” and has remained since.
Drug testing will continue for things such as human growth hormone and performance-enhancers. The NBA will also test for what it calls “drugs of abuse.” Those include methamphetamine, cocaine and opiates. But the league’s agreement with the Players Association (NBPA) over random Cannabis testing will continue for at least another season.
“We have agreed with the NBPA 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 said Wednesday.
Players learned about the agreement in a memo from the union, the details of which were first reported by ESPN.
Wait… Marijuana Remains Prohibited?! 😒
Marijuana remains prohibited in the league’s collective bargaining agreement. But negotiations between the league and players’ association loosened restrictions, reports ESPN.
“It’s hard to envision the NBA ever randomly testing for marijuana again,” writes Dan Feldman at NBC Sports. “Usage was already fairly common among players. The drug is becoming increasingly legalized in the United States.
“As momentum moves one direction both nationally and within the league, the NBA seems unlikely to take what’d now become the drastic step of reimplementing random testing,” Feldman writes.
But That Could Change With The Next Collective Bargaining Agreement
Feldman and other NBA experts say it wouldn’t be surprising if the next Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t even include marijuana among prohibited substances.
The NBA can still punish players for Cannabis use. Though the league currently does targeted testing of players with a previous marijuana violation, a CBA change could treat Cannabis like alcohol.
Six different NBA players (none of whom wanted to be identified) estimated the percentage of active players using marijuana in some form—buds, edibles, concentrates, CBD oils, lotions, patches—was at least 50 percent and as high as 85 percent, reports NBC Sports.