Former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern was recently featured in a piece by digital sports website UNINTERRUPTED about former NBA player and current cannabis entrepreneur Al Harrington. Stern, who led the NBA’s crackdown on cannabis use during his time as commissioner, made clear that his perception of cannabis has changed. He references Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s informative three part CNN special ‘Weed’ as an influential part of his reasoning. He now believes that “marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.” How will the new commissioner manage the medical marijuana in NBA debate that is likely to continue?
Dr Sanjay Gupta was not always a supporter of medical marijuana. In fact, Dr Gupta stated “I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency when they listed marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have ‘no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse. They didn’t have the science to support that claim and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes the only thing that works.” -Dr Sanjay Gupta #research #cannabis #medicine #medicalcannabis #medicalmarijuana #drsanjaygupta #schedule1 #legalize #legalizeit #medicalmarijuana411 #science
Former NBA Superstar Al Harrington Pushes Cannabis Legalization
Harrington, a former first round pick who spent more than 15 years in the NBA, said he was introduced to CBD by a friend after suffering from a terrible staph infection that caused him pain. He was prescribed opiates but wanted a viable alternative to the addictive medication. Harrington immediately noticed the benefits of CBD and said that he continued to medicate with it during his final three years in the league. He hopes that eventually medical marijuana will be regulated like other painkillers.
Harrington took his pro-cannabis views even further once his time in the NBA concluded, starting Viola Extracts, a medical cannabis farming and extract company. Harrington chose to name the company after his grandmother used medical marijuana to find relief from diabetic and glaucoma symptoms.
Harrington, along with many current and former NBA players, has suggested that the use of medical marijuana in the NBA is already abundant. Former NBA player Jay Williams says he believes 80% of NBA players use cannabis. Williams said “When you talk about guys playing at a professional level, there’s a lot of physical and mental stress that comes with that, to have something available to you that has health benefits, I don’t see the issue with it myself.”
Cannabis In Sports
The primary factors in changing Commissioner Stern’s viewpoint was player support for cannabis reform, along with recent scientific studies that revealed the medicinal value of cannabis.Former commissioner Stern is not alone. A shift in cannabis policies can be seen by major sports organizations in the United States.
NBA And NFL Are Changing Their Anti-Cannabis Views
In August of 2017, the NFL sent a letter to the NFL Players Association acknowledging the league’s desire to collaborate with the NFLPA on further research into the medicinal value of cannabis. The move was surprising for the NFL, whose Commissioner Roger Goodell has been notoriously harsh on cannabis users. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory have both been suspended indefinitely for their use of cannabis.
Former NFL first round pick Eugene Monroe believes that cannabis has the ability to not only serve as a painkiller but also a neuroprotectant. On his website, Monroe cites multiple studies that show cannabis’ ability to protect the brain from further trauma. This could be a groundbreaking improvement in player health for all sports but especially the NFL, where head trauma is extremely common.
David Stern is the first acting or former professional sports commissioner in the United States to support medical marijuana legalization. His shift in opinion marks a historic moment for cannabis reform advocates. Sports are an integral part of society and have the ability to sway public opinion. Should medical marijuana in NBA be allowed, an elimination of suspensions related to marijuana use and an increase in player health and safety will occur.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.