When David Stern was the NBA Commissioner, he had to make a decision on putting in place a set of rules that would make it mandatory for NBA players to be drug tested once a year.

NBA franchise owners put forward a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 1999 to make player conduct rules more strict and Stern signed off on the list of new rules. One of those rules put marijuana on the list of banned substances.

Stern stepped down as the Commissioner nearly four years ago and since then has had a change of heart regarding quite a few issues that he earlier endorsed.

One of those issues is his stance on marijuana as the former commissioner now believes that it is time for the NBA to amend its CBA and take marijuana off the list of banned substances.

Stern shared his views on marijuana and why he had a change of heart in a mini-documentary called “The Concept of Cannabis” where he was interviewed by former NBA player Al Harrington. Stern said that during the last few years it had been made clear that marijuana could be used for a number of medical purposes and as a result NBA players should not be prohibited from taking marijuana, should they choose to do so.


There have been a number of states such as Nevada, Colorado and California that have legalized the marijuana industry. However it is still illegal for NBA players to consumer marijuana which makes things complicated because an NBA player in California can legally take marijuana but if the NBA tests and finds the player positive for marijuana, he could still be banned and see his career go down the drain.

In a statement, Stern said

I don’t think there’s been a proper spokesperson for this subject. 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

There have been a number of articles published in recent times which show that medical marijuana can be used to help with pain management and inflammation. Stern said NBA players should be allowed to take advantage of this as it could prolong their careers.

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Posted on: 26th October 2017 by: Adrian Sterne