The NBA announced it will not conduct randomized tests for marijuana during the upcoming basketball season.
The National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to suspend random tests for marijuana during the soon-beginning season.
ESPN reported the change mirrors protocol established as the NBA finished the 2019-2020 season in the COVID-19 enforced bubble at the the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
“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,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in a statement according to ESPN.
theGrio reported the NBA is slated to return on December 22 with pregame matchups starting on December 11. Teams will play a 72-game schedule which has yet to be released. The league announced a new protocol for COVID-19 as the pandemic continues to force a new normal. This includes rules on mask-wearing, social distancing, and isolation for players who test positive. 48 players have tested positive for COVID-19 before the season begins.
Despite all odds, players are eager to take the court.
According to GQ, before the bubble, the NBA was committed to regular random tests for the program uninterrupted for 37 years after the NBA became the first major North American league to accept a comprehensive drug program in 1983. Michele Roberts, the head of the NBA player’s association shared with the outlet the move may be permanent, saying, “and it is not necessary to know whether our players are positive for marijuana.”
“Had we had a different AG that didn’t have such a problem with marijuana, I think we would have seen some legislation come out of the feds,” Roberts said. “And the league, I believe, would have been more comfortable agreeing that we would no longer test for marijuana.”
She added, “I am absolutely confident [that] by next season, at the absolute latest by the time the next CBA is negotiated, this is going to be old news.”
theGrio reported on Friday that the house approved a bill to decriminalize and tax marijuana.
“For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of as a matter of personal choice and public health,″ said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., a key sponsor of the bill, according to the report. “Whatever one’s views are on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, the policy of arrests, prosecution, and incarceration at the federal level has proven unwise and unjust.″
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