Marijuana is becoming more socially accepted and the National Basketball Association (NBA) has gotten on board. The organization has signed a contract that removes marijuana from banned substance list. It also sets guidelines for players who wish to invest in or promote cannabis brands.

Read on to find out about the recent updates.

Contract That Removes Marijuana from Banned Substance List

The NBA contract that removes marijuana from banned substance list has been debated for about two months. Officials have now reached an agreement on a seven-year 676-page contract with several cannabis-related provisions. The most noted is the removal of marijuana from the banned substance list.

Another provision allows players to invest in cannabis-related entities. It states that players may “hold a direct or indirect ownership interest (whether controlling or non-controlling) in an entity that produces or sells CBD products”. CBD products are defined as those that contain up to .03% THC, which falls under the federal government’s definition of hemp.

Players may also invest in cannabis companies under the condition that the investment is passive, and the player owns less than 50% of the business.

The contract that removes marijuana from banned substance list also states that players “may 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 player may endorse or promote a CBD product sold by a marijuana company but must have special permission from the association to do so.

It further details that these requests must be made in writing and must include information such as:

  1. A complete list of all the products the company sells or produces
  2. A complete list of the ingredients in those products
  3. A description of the player’s proposed promotion or endorsement activities
  4. A detailed summary of the non-financial terms of the agreement worked out between the company and the players.

The player must get the association’s approval before starting the promotional campaign.

The player’s request may be denied if the CBD products they promote are “marketed or sold under a brand that also includes or refers to marijuana products” or if the campaign would create “a reasonable risk of public confusion with any marijuana product”.

The contract that removes marijuana from banned substance list also lists the consequences players will face if they are found driving under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance or if they are involved in a felony involving marijuana distribution.

It generally compares marijuana to alcohol stating the players reasonably believed to be “under the influence of marijuana and/or alcohol while engaged in activities for such Team or for the NBA, or that the player has a dependency or other related issue involving the use of marijuana and/or alcohol, the Team may refer the player to the Medical Director for mandatory evaluation.

“A player may seek assistance from the Medical Director at any time for dependency on or any other related issue related to the use of marijuana or alcohol,” the contract that removes marijuana from banned substance list states in another section.

Players that do not undergo the mandatory treatment will face penalties including disciplinary action and a fine of $5000 per day. Players will face steeper penalties if they enter treatment and show a “pattern of behavior that demonstrates a mindful disregard for his treatment responsibilities” or test positive “for marijuana and/or alcohol that is not clinically expected by the Medical Director”.

NBA players will also have the option to voluntarily seek help for the use of synthetic cannabinoids. Players that enter these programs will not be penalized but could face penalties for non-compliance with the program.

The NBA removes marijuana from banned substance list also means cannabis testing will be suspended indefinitely codifying the suspension of testing that was in effect the last three seasons.

Immediate Feedback on NBA Removes Marijuana from Banned Substance List

It may come as no surprise that the news of the NBA removes marijuana from banned substance list has met the approval of cannabis icon and NBA commentator Snoop Dogg. He feels marijuana will be a useful opioid alternative promoting pain relief for athletes.

The decision is in line with the predictions of Michele Roberts, the former head of the NBPA who joined the board of major cannabis company Cresco Labs in 2020. She had foreseen a formal change to the policy.

The update also comes on the heels of NBA star Kevin Durant partnering with the online marijuana retailer Weedmaps. The multi-year campaign aims to destigmatize cannabis and show its potential to promote athletes’ “wellness and recovery”.

Other Sports Organization’s Marijuana Policy Reforms

The NBA is just one of the many sports organizations that have taken steps to make cannabis more acceptable in their sports practices.

The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is considering action that removes marijuana from banned substance list. The organization is attempting to make cannabis a focus of its athlete-oriented health and wellness campaign.

Nevada sports regulators are also getting on board. Earlier this year they sent the governor a proposed regulatory amendment that would prevent athletes from being penalized for marijuana possession or use in compliance with state law.

The UFC changed its policy in 2021 announcing it would no longer penalize fighters who tested positive for marijuana.

The National Football League (NFL) changed its drug testing policy in 2021. The organization also announced that it would be providing funding for independent research on CBD as an alternative to opioids.

The Kansas City Royals recently became the second Major League Baseball team to form a partnership with a cannabis brand promoting the therapeutic benefits of CBD following in the Chicago Cubs’ footsteps.

The MLB announced a league-wide partnership with the popular CBD company Charlotte’s Web Holdings making it the “Official CBD of MLB”.