The National Basketball Association made headlines around the world passing on cannabis testing for a second straight season. Due to the unusual circumstances surrounding last year’s season, the NBA suspended all random tests for cannabis and shifted focus to random testing for performance-enhancing products. Many athletes hoped this would lead to a permanent change and on Wednesday October 6th, 2021 progress was made;
“We have agreed with the NBPA to extend the suspension of random testing for marijuana for the 2021-22 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse.“-NBA League Spokesman, Mike Bass
The agreement was first shared with players in a memo from the NBPA, and reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Today we are seeing active and retired athletes come to the forefront to share their stories and journeys in an effort to normalize the conversation.
Retired and Active NBA Players Advocating for Cannabis
NBA champion Kevin Durant recently made waves across the world, announcing a collaborative content partnership with WeedMaps. Early September, Kevin Durant joined the Out of Office Podcast to discuss his latest venture as well as all things sports cannabis.
Al Harrington leads the charge for cannabis athlete entrepreneurs bringing to life unique brands and initiatives. Al’s most notable endeavour, Viola Brand is a company named after his grandmother who suffered from glaucoma as well as diabetes and eventually found significant relief after implementing cannabis into her life. Today, Viola Brand is a cannabis company founded by Al Harrington with an emphasis on offering premium products, as well as a focus on education, social equity and community involvement.
Retired NBA Icon, Cannabis advocate and entrepreneur Allen Iverson joined Al Harrington’s Viola Brand Roster in a multi year Partnership. Iverson’s interest was ultimately pushed when he joined Al Harrington at Viola’s 18,000 sq/ft grow earlier this year to get a better understanding of the process, product and people behind the brand. In recent years Viola has created premium products as well as timely initiatives targeted at social justice and equitable offerings, pushing to expand industry diversity, facilitate community building and provide employment opportunities. With a commitment to increasing minority participation, ownership and education, Allen Iverson has decided to team up with Viola Brand in a multi year Partnership.
John Wall & Carmelo Anthony
Prolific NBA players John Wall and Carmelo Anthony joined athletes around the world betting on cannabis, backing cannabis company LEUNE. In early April 2021 they connected to invest in California-based LEUNE. Since the launch in 2018, LEUNE has focused on social justice initiatives, partnering with the Last Prisoner Project to tackle criminal justice reform and social equity issues.
In a historic moment, Klay Thompson became the first active NBA athlete to back a CBD brand. Klay has dealt with his fair share of injuries and today is advocating for CBD and a clean healthy lifestyle. He’s partnered with other elite athletes to create a unique product line “Just Live” which caters to fitness enthusiasts and athletes of all levels looking for natural, clean alternatives.
Earlier this year NBA rebounding legend Chris Webber teamed up with Jason Wild, Founder of JW Asset Management to launch a $100 million Cannabis Impact Fund. Since retiring Chris Webber has dedicated his time to working with athletes and professionals within the Cannabis Industry as well as creating Webber Wellness.