David Stern: NBA should remove marijuana from banned substances list (vid)
Former NBA commissioner David Stern, tackling yet another controversial topic, argues that marijuana, particularly medical marijuana, should be taken off the league’s banned substances list.
Stern, while making an appearance on an Uninterrupted documentary hosted by former NBA player Al Harrington titled, “The Concept of Cannabis,” believes “there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”
Stern acknowledged that the NBA, along with other leagues, have erred in being reluctant to change their marijuana policies for fear of backlash.
“I don’t think there’s been a proper spokesperson for this subject,” Stern told Harrington, as transcribed by Ball Don’t Lie. “I think that if medical marijuana is available, then it’s up to the individual team doctor. You tell me it worked for you and it worked for others that you knew, then we should find a way to get that defined and made official, and then proceed to educating team docs.”
Interestingly, Stern presided over the NBA at the time of drastic changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In 1999, under pressure from the league’s owners, a “stiffening” of the player conduct policy was instituted which banned marijuana outright. The NBA instituted a mandatory once-per-year test to go along with the ban.
But in the years since, Stern’s view on marijuana have become significantly more progressive.
“I think we’ve got to change the collective bargaining agreement, then, and let you do what’s legal in your state,” Stern said. “If marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, I would think you should be allowed to do what’s legal in your state. So now it’s up to the sports leagues to anticipate where this is going, and maybe lead the way […] I think it’s a very interesting subject, and I think it’s a place where the leagues have an opportunity to do something, led by their players unions and the league offices.”
Stern’s thoughts on the controversial topic follow what his successor, Adam Silver, had to say on the issue in August when the current NBA commissioner said he’s “very interested in the science” of medical marijuana.