The NBA is extending its policy of not randomly drug testing players for marijuana through the 2021-2022 season, a league spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver signaled late last year the temporary suspension of cannabis drug testing may continue. And Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass confirmed the policy will be in place at least through the upcoming season that begins this month.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass:
“We have agreed with the NBPA to extend the suspension of random testing for marijuana for the 2021-22 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse.”
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 6, 2021
The development was first reported by ESPN, which obtained a memo that was recently circulated to NBA players.
Players won’t be subject to random tests for marijuana this season, according to @NBPA memo shared w/ players and obtained by ESPN. That’s been adjusted policy thru Orlando restart and 2020-‘21 season. Testing continues for “drugs of abuse and performance enhancing substances.”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 6, 2021
Silver said in December the league’s decision on marijuana drug testing, which was made amid the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, could eventually become permanent.
“We decided that, given all the things that were happening in society, given all the pressures and stress that players were under, that we didn’t need to act as Big Brother right now,” he said at the time. “I think society’s views around marijuana have changed to a certain extent.”
Rather than mandate blanket tests, he said the league would be reaching out to players who show signs of problematic dependency, not those who are “using marijuana casually.”
The NBA announced a temporary suspension of cannabis drug testing last year, as players finished their season in the so-called “bubble” arena in Orlando amid the pandemic. That suspension was extended to the entire 2020-2021 season following an agreement between the league and the players’ union.
While the NBA won’t be subjecting players to random drug testing for THC, they will continue to test “for cause” cases where players have histories of substance use, for example.the author writes
This latest action by the NBA comes on the heels of a national discussion about cannabis testing policies for athletes, an issue that made international headlines following the suspension of U.S. runner Sha’Carri Richardson from participating in the Olympics over a positive THC test.
This piece is a part of a content-sharing arrangement between The News Station and Marijuana Moment.