In recent years, the perception of cannabis has undergone a significant transformation, with an increasing number of states legalizing its medical and recreational use. The sports industry is not immune to this shift, and the NBA, in particular, has taken progressive steps towards embracing cannabis. One influential player, NBA All-Star Kevin Durant, played a pivotal role in advocating for the removal of marijuana from the league’s banned substances list.
During a CNBC and Boardroom sports business conference, Kevin Durant candidly shared his experience of lobbying NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to remove marijuana from the banned substances list. In a humorous twist, Durant revealed that the commissioner “smelled it when I walked in,” implying that the changing perception of cannabis played a role in Silver’s receptiveness to the idea. Durant emphasized that the stigma surrounding cannabis has significantly decreased, and it no longer holds the negative connotations it once did.
As a strong advocate for cannabis, Durant partnered with the online marijuana marketplace, Weedmaps, to destigmatize cannabis use. His campaign seeks to shed light on the plant’s potential benefits and its growing acceptance worldwide. The NBA’s decision to embrace cannabis reflects a broader societal trend towards acknowledging its therapeutic potential.
In a groundbreaking move, the NBA and its players union recently signed a collective bargaining agreement that removed marijuana from the list of banned substances for players. This development marked a pivotal moment in the sports industry, signifying the league’s acknowledgement of the evolving public perception surrounding cannabis.
Moreover, the agreement opens up opportunities for NBA players to invest in and promote cannabis brands, with some reasonable restrictions. This move not only aligns with the changing attitudes towards cannabis but also empowers players to explore business opportunities in the emerging cannabis market.
While the NBA had temporarily suspended cannabis testing for the past three seasons, Michele Roberts, a former head of the National Basketball Players Association, and now a board member of major cannabis company Cresco Labs, had anticipated a formal policy change. Her prediction came true as the NBA officially eliminated marijuana from its banned substances list, cementing its commitment to adapting to societal changes and player welfare.
Kevin Durant’s advocacy and the NBA’s progressive approach to cannabis signify a significant shift in the sports industry’s stance on this once controversial plant. By embracing change, the NBA has aligned itself with evolving societal attitudes towards cannabis, recognizing its potential benefits and the need to destigmatize its use. As the NBA leads the way, it sets a precedent for other sports leagues to follow suit, ultimately promoting a more open and understanding environment for players and fans alike.