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NBA to exempt players from marijuana testing for 2020-21 season

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The NBA have taken a decision not to test the players for the presence of marijuana in their system. Much like the Orlando bubble, the 2020-21 season will see the suspension of testing for such substances with more priority opted for performance-enhancing drugs. 

The NBA is offering players a "smart" ring to track Covid. But does it even  work? - CNN
Marijuana testing is unlikely to make a comeback in the future. (CNN)

The move to exempt players from marijuana testing might not be temporary with more and more states legalising the substance. The league is currently shifting its focus towards the testing for coronavirus with rapid testing being implemented along with the reintroduction of the anonymous safety hotline.

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“Due to the unusual circumstances in conjunction with the pandemic, we have agreed with the NBPA to suspend random testing for marijuana for the 2020-21 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said

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Commissioner Adam Silver had probed into the need for marijuana testing last year

NBA commissioner Adam Silver seeking answers, which are in short supply |
Adam Silver had spoken about the need for marijuana testing in 2019. (NBA)

Silver raised the question of whether testing for marijuana is a necessity and also implied that any sort of bending the rule should be done with extreme caution in lieu of the young viewers.

“I feel sometimes that, It’s uncool that the league still tests for marijuana. And I think that’s not exactly where the state of the science on marijuana is,” Silver said in May of 2019. I think that clearly to the extent it has medicinal qualities, those are things that we should be looking at. 

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” I think when we change our policy, we have to be very careful because clearly we’re going to be sending a message to a lot of young people,” Silver said. “And at the end of the day, I think we all agree that, whether or not marijuana is a legal substance, just like with alcohol, you still have to teach young people how to use a substance like that appropriately and responsibly and so it doesn’t overwhelm your life. So, it’s a complicated issue.” 

NBA will commence their 2020-21 campaign with a preseason from December 11 to 19 while the regular season will start from December 22.

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