In an interview with SB Nation, National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts said the players union is “exploring” medical exemptions for NBA players to use medical cannabis but said that federal law is currently standing in the way.
“It is a banned substance in our league right now. If we do go down that road, we have to protect our players from — my words — a crazed attorney general who says he will prosecute violations of the law involving marijuana and he doesn’t care what individual states say. In other words, I don’t want my guys being arrested at airports in possession of a cannabinoid by some fed. It’s against the law. So, we’ll see.” – Roberts to SB Nation
In an August interview with the Players’ Tribune, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he doesn’t “see the need [right now] for any changes” in the league’s cannabis policies.
“… As you know, our players are constantly traveling, and it might be a bit of a trap to say we’re going to legalize it in these states, but no, it’s illegal in other states. And then players get in a position where they’re traveling with marijuana, and we’re obviously getting into trouble.” – Silver to the Players’ Tribune
Last October in an interview on UNINTERRUPTED, former commissioner David Stern said he “personally” thought cannabis should be removed from the league’s banned substance list.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in December 2016 that he had tried medical cannabis to treat his chronic back pain, and while he said it didn’t work for him, he supported allowing players to access medical cannabis and that it was “only a matter of time” before professional sports leagues embraced medical cannabis.
The NBA is home to eight teams in states with legal adult cannabis use; including the Washington Wizards from Washington, D.C., four teams from California, one each from Colorado, Massachusetts, and Oregon.