Former NBA Commissioner Suggests Marijuana Should be Taken off the League’s List of Banned Substances

Screen Shot 2017 10 25 at 3.02.41 PM
Screen Shot 2017 10 25 at 3.02.41 PM

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern discussed his evolving views on marijuana with former player Al Harrington 

While running the NBA for 30 years, David Stern strengthended the penalties for players caught using marijuana. But it appears his view is changing.

In a recent interview with former NBA star Al Harrington, Stern said marijuana “probably should be removed from the banned substance list.”


Harrington seemed surprised to hear his former boss say that.

“That’s huge,” said Harrington, who now runs a cannabis extract company said.

“Some of our players came to us and said some of these guys, they’re high coming into the game,” Stern continued. “At that time, people generally accepted that marijuana was a gateway drug and if you start smoking you’re liable to go on to bigger and better stuff.”

But it appears both the times and David Stern have changed.

“It’s a completely different perception [of marijuana],” Stern added. “I think there’s universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”

“If you [Harrington] tell me that it worked for you and it worked for other people, then we should find a way to get that defined and made official and then proceed to educate team docs. I think all of the leagues are appropriately focused on player training . . . player rehabilitation in the case of injury, player nutrition [and] . . . this should be a part of that conversation. Could you imagine if we could create a situation where every superstar was able to play one additional year?”

Harrington’s interview with Stern was part of a documentary titled “The Concept of Cannabis.”

In the documentary Harrington describes his own experiences and why he started to use marijuana.

“How I started using cannabis, is when I played for the Denver Nuggets I had a botched knee surgery that I ended up getting a staph injection. Ended up having to get four more surgeries just to clean the infection out. You know, I was on all kinds of pain meds. This lady that runs this university, she seen all of the medicine that I had on the thing and she said ‘Al, have you ever tried CBD?’ And I was just like, ‘nah I never really tried’ and she gave me a couple of things to try and I immediately felt the difference.”

Current NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, has signaled that he is receptive to changing the league’s policy on marijuana but is concerned with the fact that different states have different laws when it comes to marijuana.

“As you know, our players are constantly traveling, and it might be a bit of a trap to say we’re going to legalize it in these states, but no, it’s illegal in other states. And then players get in a position where they’re traveling with marijuana, and we’re obviously getting into trouble,” Silver said in July.