Former NBA commissioner David Stern recently came out in favor of removing marijuana from the banned substances list for players. He stated that he believes cannabis has medical qualities and should be clinically studied by the best hospitals.
Stern recently sat down with former player Al Harrington, a known cannabis entrepreneur and activist, for a mini Uninterrupted documentary where he revealed such opinions.
“I’m now at the point where, personally, I think it probably should be removed from the banned list. You’ve persuaded me,” Stern told Harrington in the Uninterrupted documentary.
Al Harrington got into the cannabis industry following his NBA career. His company Viola Extracts—named after Harrington’s grandmother who has also been helped by marijuana’s medicinal properties—focuses on changing marijuana from plant to wax, resins, or live resins for consumers. Moving forward, the company wants to explore developing creams and possibly protein powders with CBD.
As Harrington stated in the doc, “It’s not just about rolling a joint.”
Harrington was introduced to cannabis and its medicinal properties when a knee surgery turned for the worse due to a staph infection. He was using various prescription pills when a close friend suggested he try medical marijuana and CBD to help deal with the pain. He says it worked and even admitted to using CBD the last couple years of his career.
“There’s probably over 70% of athletes in all major sports that smoke marijuana. I think it’s that big.
“Not only the players. I think the coaches consume. I think the owners consume,” he also added. “I think in sports it’s very prevalent and it’s right there. It’s about the right people coming out and speaking on it.”
To his credit, Stern also admitted that marijuana usage is higher within the league than publicly known. Marijuana usage also became more tightly regulated during his time as commissioner, citing the then-commonly held belief that marijuana was a gateway drug.
“It was generally known at some point, until we tightened the rules, that a lot of our players were smoking a lot of marijuana,” Stern told Harrington. “In fact, some of our players came to us and said, ‘Some of these guys are high coming into the game.’ But we began tightening it up, and at that time, people accepted the generally held wisdom that marijuana was a gateway drug and that if you start smoking, you’re liable to go on to bigger and better stuff.”
But a CNN series hosted by neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta helped shift Stern’s mind when it comes to marijuana. The former commissioner now believes “there’s universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”
“I think all of the leagues are now appropriately focused on player training, structuring of the right parts of their body, player rehabilitation in the case of injury, player nutrition, player this, player that. This should be a part of that conversation,” Stern said. “Can you imagine if we could create a situation where every superstar was able to play one additional year?”
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, who has admitted to using marijuana to treat his back pain, said Wednesday that he does believe marijuana will be used in professional sports leagues for medical reasons.
Steve Kerr said he does believe professional sports leagues will eventually allow for use medicinal marijuana.
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) October 26, 2017
This summer current NBA commissioner said in an Reddit AMA that the league is “open” to legalization should the science check out.
“I would say it’s something we will look at,” Silver said. “I’m very interested in the science when it comes to medical marijuana.”