NBA Set To Stop Random Marijuana Testing Next Season

by : Cameron Frew on : 04 Dec 2020 12:41
NBA Set To Stop Random Marijuana Testing Players Next SeasonNBA Set To Stop Random Marijuana Testing Players Next SeasonPA Images

The NBA will reportedly stop random marijuana testing during the next season.

At the time of writing, 15 US states have legalised marijuana for recreational use in some form, as well as Canada and Uruguay. Also, more than 50 countries across the world have approved some sort of medical cannabis programmes.


Attitudes to the drug are rapidly changing, with majorities for full legalisation rising all across the world. As such, in line with recent state decisions to relax laws on marijuana, the NBA is set to make some changes too.

PA Images

NBA reporter Ben Dowsett wrote on Twitter, ‘League sources: Continuing a theme from the Orlando bubble, the NBA will not test its players for marijuana for the upcoming 2020-21 season.’

According to Dowsett, this decision has been attributed to the current pandemic, as stopping random testing would be ‘another way of limiting unnecessary contacts… however, there’s also significant expectation from many in the league that the entire marijuana testing program is on the way out in the near future’.


This doesn’t necessarily mean there’ll be lots of players ‘getting high and playing ball’, as one Twitter user put it. Players are still set to be tested ‘for cause’.

Dowsett explained, ‘Important clarification here, per source: the NBA’s random marijuana testing program will not run for 20-21, as reported below. However, testing FOR CAUSE – that is, past offenders or those who have given reasonable cause to suspect use – will continue.’

The NBA’s drug policy was earlier said to be one of the harshest in American sports. If caught with a positive test, the punitive measures escalate from entering a ‘marijuana program’, to a $25,000 fine, to a five-game suspension with five-game additions to any subsequent violations (i.e. you’d be suspended for 10 games if caught a fourth time, 15 games in the event of a fifth).


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver earlier said, as per ESPN:

One of the things I’ve been talking more about in the last year is mental wellness of our player. And look, some guys are smoking pot just in the same way a guy would take a drink. And it’s like whatever, ‘Smoking pot, I’m just using it to come down a little bit or I just want to relax.’

No big deal. No issue. And I think it’s the reason why it has been legalised in a lot of states. And from that standpoint, if that were the only issue, maybe we’re behind the times in our program.

Earlier this week, the UN commission reclassified cannabis, no longer describing it as a ‘risky narcotic’.


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Health, Cannabis, Drugs, Marijuana, NBA, Now, Sport


Ben Dowsett/Twitter and 1 other
  1. Ben Dowsett/Twitter


  2. ESPN

    How weed became 'whatever': Leagues are ditching old policies