NBA to halt testing for cannabis in upcoming season

By James Matthews

In a landmark decision, the NBA announced that no cannabis testing will be conducted during the 2020-2021 season.

This makes the NBA the second major male North American league to not test for the substance.

In December 2019, the MLB removed marijuana from the league’s list of banned substances. League spokesman Mike Bass, in a statement released to the National Post, cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst for this decision. Additionally, the NBA worked with the players themselves via the league’s players association, the NBPA.

“Due to the unusual circumstances in conjunction with the pandemic, we have agreed with the NBPA to suspend random testing for marijuana for the 2020-21 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse.”

This follows a similar stance to what the league implemented last season. When the NBA halted play due to the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, play was resumed in a bubble tournament held in Orlando, Florida.

During that multi-month tournament, no testing for cannabis was conducted.

It is important to note the semantics here. With both the bubble and this upcoming season in mind, the league has “suspended” testing with no details stating that this is a permanent decision.

However, this represents a growing trend of relaxing regulations towards marijuana by North American leagues.

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