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NBA Players Will Not Be Tested for Cannabis This Season

October 12, 2021 11:30 am ET

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced that it will not subject players to random cannabis testing during the upcoming 2021-22 season.

The policy is an extension of rules put in place in March 2020 that suspended drug screening during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even when the 2019-20 season resumed via the Disney World bubble, cannabis testing did not resume alongside testing for performance enhancers.

While cannabis is still technically prohibited, the association is halting screening for it in order to focus on “performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse” like methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates, according to Sporting News. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t committed to making the policy permanent but remarked that society’s views on marijuana have changed.

Decriminalizing cannabis in sports has been a hot topic in recent years. Sha’Carri Richardson’s widely publicized suspension from the Olympics due to the testing positive for cannabis at trials catalyzed a wave of support for pro-cannabis reform. In September, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), an international independent agency that conducts research on substance use in sports, announced its intent to review the ban on cannabis use for athletes.

The NBA’s 75th anniversary season will begin on Oct. 19.

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