Does the NBA Need to Un-Ban Marijuana?

Former NBA star Jay Williams, who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls after a successful college career at Duke University Blue Devils, has spoken out about the relation between marijuana and the NBA. Williams’ stint with the Blue Devils included an NCAA title, a national college player of the year award and two consensus first team All-American selections.Williams also starred in the US National Team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship. He recently stated that approximately 80 percent of NBA players use marijuana.

Williams, NBA

Jay Williams stated that around 80 percent of NBA players use marijuana.

There have been past incidents of ex-NBA stars openly stating that players were using marijuana, and one of such cases will include former Toronto Raptors forward Charles Oakley. In 2001, Oakley said, “You got guys out there playing high every night.”

This will not be the first time Jay Williams has been heard commenting on the use of marijuana, as three years ago he called out his Chicago Bulls teammates for using marijuana. In 2013, Jay had spoken about his culture shock upon joining the league while on the Chicago Bulls bench saying “Some guys were high, there were guys smoking weed before games. Guys asking in the middle of the game, ‘Do you smell popcorn?”

And yes, marijuana is a banned substance in the NBA, according to the anti-drug agreement. Even though it is legally prescribed in 23 states by doctors across the United States, it remains banned. There are strict NBA regulations around marijuana. Players found with traces of marijuana during random tests will be entered into a marijuana recovery program. A second failed test results in a cash fine of $25,000 and a third failed test gets the player a five-game suspension.

“I was addicted to Oxycontin for five years.” – Williams

Jay Williams, who is currently an ESPN College Basketball analyst, urged the NBA to consider the medical perspective of marijuana usage  and to become a bit more progressive in thinking forward. Jay Williams went on to state that most NBA players are not only limited to using marijuana as a recreational drug, noting that he’s known athletes who’ve used Percocets during actual games. Jay Williams, who was addicted to Oxycontin for five years, went on to say the NBA needs to stop testing players for marijuana and issuing fines and suspensions to players when they test positive, since most players use it for medicinal purposes.

Do you agree it is time for the NBA to start exploring the option of medicinal marijuana and how this can be implemented in the game?