Marijuana in any form is still on the NBA’s banned substances list. But Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, along with the former NBA commissioner and many players, want to see it removed as they recognize the potential medicinal benefits of the plant. Towns notes the stigma surrounding marijuana and touts its benefits.
Towns isn’t making an uneducated statement, he’s done his homework on medical marijuana, Inlander reports. Towns has worked with autistic children, has done some research himself and has spoken to his mother, a nurse, regarding medical marijuana.
When asked about his statements regarding marijuana, Towns said, “I don’t ever say anything without thinking about what I said.”
He isn’t alone. Dozens of players and the former commissioner, David Stern also supports medical marijuana for the players. Stern said to Al Harrington that the benefits of marijuana are “too hard to ignore”.
Stern said, “I’m now at the point where, personally, I think [marijuana] probably should be removed from the banned list. I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medicinal purposes should be completely legal.”
Stern worked hard to increase penalties for substance abuse in the NBA, but his attitude toward marijuana has shifted with much of the country.
He said, “It’s a completely different perception. I think we have to change the Collective Bargaining Agreement and let you do what is legal in your state. If marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, I think you should be allowed to do what’s legal in your state.”
Players found in violation of the league’s substance abuse policy face suspensions, fines and being forced into a substance abuse program.
There’s good news for Towns, Sterns and other supporters in the NBA – the current commissioner, Adam Silver, is open to discussing the possibility of removing marijuana from the banned substances list.
Silver recently said, “I’m very interested in the science when it comes to medical marijuana. And it’s something that needs to be discussed with our Players Association, but to the extent that science demonstrates that there are effective uses for medical reason, we’ll be open to it.”