The NBA has signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association, allowing cannabis consumption by NBA players and removing it from the list of prohibited substances. The move follows the broader legalization trends sweeping across several US states. Other changes include a new tournament, a minimum number of games required for individual awards, and bonus incentives.
According to ESPN and The Athletic, the NBA, and the Players Association have signed a new collective bargaining agreement, which includes allowing cannabis consumption. Allowing cannabis consumption has been a long-standing request from NBA players, and following the NFL, the NBA is now legalizing the substance.
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NBA Reaches Agreement With Players Association
The NBA and Players Association reached the agreement on Saturday. Adam Silver, and Players Association president Christian James McCollum, a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, led the negotiations. This new collective bargaining agreement will be in effect for seven years, starting next season.
One of the unexpected points in this agreement is the allowance for cannabis consumption by NBA players. As reported by ESPN and The Athletic, the use of cannabis will no longer be subject to punishment.
Psychoactive Substances No Longer in NBA Anti-Drug Program
As a result, the psychoactive substance will no longer be included in the NBA anti-drug program, following the lead of the NFL, which implemented this measure in 2020.
The American basketball league started this process during the playoffs of the 2019-2020 season in Orlando during the pandemic. Since then, cannabis has not been tested for in drug screenings. The NBA has focused on performance-enhancing drugs, growth hormones, and hard drugs (such as cocaine).
Not a Surprise Given Legalization Trends
The decision to remove cannabis from the list of prohibited substances in the NBA is not surprising, as an increasing number of states in the United States are legalizing the drug.
Currently, cannabis use is legal in 21 states, compared to about ten states where it is still completely illegal. Many players had advocated for cannabis to be removed from the prohibited list, as it is known for its pain-relieving effects. Phoenix Suns’ small forward, Kevin Durant, has even publicly discussed his frequent use of the drug.
Other Points Covered in NBA Agreement
Other points in the new NBA collective bargaining agreement include a minimum number of games required to win individual awards such as MVP or Rookie of the Year, and establishing a new tournament during the regular season, consisting of group stages followed by a Final eight on neutral ground. In this Final 8, each match will be a knockout game, and the two final teams will have played 83 games in total over the NBA season.
A $500,000 (€460,000) bonus is also planned for each player on the winning team and their coach. Additionally, the NBA aims to limit recruitment for teams exceeding the luxury tax threshold of $17.5 million (€16.1 million) and to boost NBA player extensions by reducing the ceiling for salary increases from 140% to 120%.
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