Over the past decade, there’s a been a sea change in perspective when it comes to marijuana and its usages and benefits. It’s now legal for recreational use in 11 states and for medical purposes in 34 states. In the most recent election cycle, five more states voted to legalize it, while South Dakota and Mississippi — states that have been historically more conservative on the topic — voted it in for medical purposes.
A big reason for this change in thinking is the touted medical benefits associated with it, as various research studies have shown it can be a safer alternative to pharmaceuticals in pain management, as well as a host of other ailments. Still, the stigma surrounding it has slowed its progress, but more and more sectors of American life are continuing to come around.
The NBA, for instance, will reportedly discontinue random marijuana testing in the coming season, a continuation of the pause they placed on that testing during the Orlando bubble. The league will, however, continue to test “for cause,” but is apparently shifting its focus to more dangerous PEDs.
The NBA has officially suspended random marijuana testing for the 2020-21 season …
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 4, 2020
The policy on testing is still built into the CBA, but many believe that will be re-evaluated in the next collective bargaining negotiations. Players Association chief Michele Roberts, who recently joined the board of directors on Cresco Labs, a marijuana startup, in part because of their social initiative to help minorities get past marijuana convictions expunged, said the following in a recent GQ interview:
“When I was watching the cannabis industry grow, again I saw an opportunity for communities of color,” Roberts told GQ. “I thought it was especially appropriate given there are so many poor people and people of color who ended up paying huge penalties for being involved in an industry that is about to be, within the next 10 years, legal throughout the United States.”
The NBA is still a long way from eliminating the testing altogether or advocating for its medical uses, but all the recent trends show that it’s heading in that direction.