New York, NY: League officials and the NBA Players Association have signed a collective bargaining agreement that drops cannabis from its list of banned substances.
The new agreement codifies changes first implemented on a temporary basis in 2020 limiting the ability of league officials to randomly screen players for cannabis and to punish those who test positive.
Under the policy, NBA teams may refer players suspected of having marijuana-related dependency issues to the Medical Director for a mandatory evaluation, but league officials will no longer drug test players for past cannabis exposure.
The policy changes are similar to those implemented by Major League Baseball, which also recently dropped cannabis from its banned substances list. Both the NFL and the NHL continue to drug test some players for cannabis use, but they no longer impose suspensions for those who test positive for it. In June, a regulatory body of the National Collegiate Athletic Association similarly “signaled its support for removing cannabis from the Association’s banned drug list and testing protocols.”
Other marijuana-specific changes in the new NBA agreement permit players for the first time to “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.”
Additional information on cannabis and drug testing is available from the NORML Fact Sheet, ‘Marijuana Legalization and Impact on the Workplace.’