With marijuana getting close to being decriminalized and with predictions of over 80% of all NBA players smoking weed, the NBA looks like it has finally given up on random marijuana testing.
The deal appears to have been cut with the help of the NBA Players Association, who seems intent on pinning its motivation (for some reason) on Covid – which is, of course, a virus that affects the lungs.
League spokesperson Mike Bass told NBC Sports: “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.”
One beneficiary of the new rules will likely be J.R. Smith, who said in a post game interview in 2018 that his shooting was “very green” but “not as green as that green I’m gonna hit tomorrow.”
Marijuana will still stay on the NBA’s banned substances list, but the league is clearly shifting away from enforcing its rules against the substance. When the league altered its rules to play at the Orlando Bubble during the pandemic, it suspended random testing for the drug for the first time.
NBA players had previously been required to submit to four random tests per season. “If a player tested positive for marijuana once, he was required to enter the NBA’s drug program. Twice, he would be fined $25,000 and a third time would result in a five-game suspension,” NBC Sports writes.
And while a majority of NBA players may use marijuana, the league isn’t the only one moving away from enforcing rules about it. The MLB has also removed marijuana from its “drugs of abuse” list in December 2019 and turned its focus to opioids.
The NBA still may revert back to its old rules for the 2021-2022 season, but we think it’s more likely that pot rules go “up in smoke” for good. Congrats, J.R.
JR Smith opening day pic.twitter.com/g7MjPn53nO
— Big 38 Hawk Em (@PurpleJack6) December 4, 2020