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Adam Silver addresses how NBA will approach its marijuana policies

Adam Silver believes the NBA has no choice but to seriously address the ongoing issues related to its marijuana policy, and the commissioner recently offered up a pragmatic take on how the league should go about doing so.

There are currently 10 states where recreational use of marijuana is now legal, and more states will follow suit in the coming years. Silver noted as much in his measured, lengthy comments to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. He also highlighted how the NBA will be methodical in its still-evolving approach to its marijuana policies, not to mention what protocols will have to be taken into account.

“Few issues there; one is, of course, it has to be collectively bargained, so it’s something that we are talking to (Executive Director) Michele Roberts and the Players Association about what our policy should be, Silver said, as transcribed by Crossing Broad. “You might be surprised about this, but when I’ve talked to players about it, I think they have mixed feelings, some players. I think it’s not as much about what a guy is doing in the summer. They want to smoke pot in the summer? Whatever, it’s legal in a lot of states, to your point. No issue. I do think there’s a little bit of a concern about some of the pot smoking in season.

“Sometimes that, you know it’s uncool that the league still tests for marijuana, and I think that that’s not exactly where the state of the science on marijuana is. I think that, clear to the extent it has medicinal qualities – those are things we should be looking at, where it’s in terms of pain relief. Of course, you know? And that’s something that’s being studied, not just by us. The NFL recently announced they’re studying that issue as well, and we should look at it.

“But I also, last part of this, I think when we change our policy, we have to be very careful because clearly we’re going to be sending a message to a lot of young people. And at the end of the day I think we all agree that whether or not, you know, marijuana is a legal substance, just like with alcohol you still have to teach young people how to use substances like that appropriately and responsibly, so it doesn’t overwhelm your life. It’s a complicated issue.”

Silver previously expressed interest in exploring the medicinal use of marijuana back in 2017. Interestingly, former NBA commissioner David Stern also believes the league should remove marijuana from its banned substances list. 

The NBA, as well as other professional sports leagues, are in the earliest stages of how to reconcile the growing legality of using marijuana recreationally and their drug policies. Silver certainly seems to have a nuanced view of the issue, not to mention an arguably more progressive outlook on how to address it when compared to commissioners of other leagues.