NBA Will Not Drug Test For Marijuana In 2021 Season

By Matt Chandler

December 30th, 2020

The NBA will reportedly forego testing its players for marijuana for the 2020-21 campaign, continuing a revision to league policy that started during the season restart in Orlando just a few months ago, according to Ben Dowsett.

The league took the punitive and pointless testing off the table the same day that the House of Representatives voted to legalize marijuana.

This is a big step for professional sports and shows the need for new drug testing procedures in professional sports! The drug testing procedures for professional sports were due for a change.
So what do professional sports players and league executives think about marijuana testing in their sport?

Nets star Kevin Durant had called for the NBA to permanently remove marijuana from its banned substances list while he was rehabbing his torn Achilles last year. (

JR Smith, a cannabis advocate who plays for the LA Lakers, trended on Twitter almost immediately after Dowsett's news broke, and it's pretty obvious as to why. He's a longtime advocate for the legalization of marijuana and promoted a weed company ahead of Game 4 of the NBA Finals MORE: (

Even NBA players association executives are becoming involved in Cannabis companies.
Michele Roberts, who has served as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) since 2014, will be the first female board member of the national cannabis company Cresco Labs, the firm announced on Wednesday. (

She said in a press release that she will help advance Cresco's “distinctive brands of high-quality products and services, particularly those focused on the promise held by medicinal cannabis to treat conditions and illnesses where more traditional protocols have not met the patients' needs.” Roberts added that she is committed to supporting the company's social responsibility efforts to” better both individual lives and underrepresented communities.” In her full-time job, Roberts has also advocated for reforming NBA's marijuana policies, stating in 2018 that she feel “there are substantial signs that support its efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management.” “We're in talks with the league to see where we can go with it,” she said at the time. “The obvious future is that marijuana will be decriminalized probably throughout the country in short order.” Now it seems those negotiations are paying off, with sources telling The Athletic that the league and the players' union have agreed to suspend testing for recreational drugs, at least for the rest of the current abbreviated season. NBA will continue to test for performance-enhancing drugs, however. (

Through my experience in the hemp and cannabis industry these past several years I’ve had the opportunity to meet several current and former professional athletes who are huge advocates of cannabis. A large majority of them I noticed had a similar story of addiction to opiates and pain killers. Many of them found cannabis to be a healthier alternative to cope with the pain from injuries and to recover faster from their games and training. For them, they always considered cannabis as a useful tool but had to be very careful about using the plant because of drug testing procedures. They seemed bewildered at how easy it was to get painkillers after a game and how risky it was to try something like cannabis which helped more and has been found as less addictive. Many of the players I met didn’t like the pain killers, they were so freely offered, due to the addictive potential and the other various effects it had over their mind, bodies, and performance.

Now to be fair to professional sports organizations, their hands were tied. Marijuana is still federally illegal and everyone is so confused about the legalities surrounding the cannabis plant. Luckily the CBD craze that hit the nation, helped put cannabis in the front of many people’s minds. With the growing amount of research being performed around CBD for recovery and inflammation, it's been on the minds of many elite athletes trying to find a competitive edge. One challenge that has risen with CBD and drug testing is that CBD, and Hemp Oil, naturally contain small amounts of THC, which can be enough THC to fail a drug test.

My hope is that this is going to be a trend that reaches past professional sports and into the private sector with companies changing their internal drug testing policies. With the growing amount of positive research surrounding Hemp and Cannabis, it seems like this plant could also be viewed as a way for people to reach their highest potential at work and be their best selves. Currently, many people are afraid they will fail a drug test and hold off on using Full Spectrum CBD products because of the risk of losing their job.

This has created a market for CBD isolates and synthetic cannabinoids, where the THC has been fully removed. The problem with this is the research surrounding CBD, and Hemp oil, which suggests that people get far more benefits from the full spectrum, natural version, of the plant rather than isolated forms of CBD. Experts and researchers suggest there is an “entourage effect” that occurs from taking full spectrum Hemp products which create a more effective and longer-lasting therapeutic benefit from users.

At the AlcHempist we believe in the power of full-spectrum Hemp extracts that include a micro dose of THC. We do however utilize a distillation process that removes some of the THC but not all of it. This reduces the risk of failed drug tests and has been a great product for people looking to experience the power of Hemp and CBD but who work at a place that drug tests for THC.

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