NBA needs to find a more realistic approach to banned substances, marijuana

Dwight Jaynes
NBC Sports Northwest

There's an in-depth story today by NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh and Monte Poole about the use of marijuana by NBA players and I assume, that with recreational use of weed legal in Oregon, there will be a lot of people interested in giving it a read.

I'm sure that one of the big headlines to come out of the story will be the assertion that "50-85 percent" of the players in the league are using -- either recreationally or medicinally -- some form of the drug.

I would have no idea if that is true or not, but I would guess it to be more toward the low side of that estimate. My personal experience with people passionate about something -- from heroin, to Diet Coke, to weed, to soccer,  to cocaine, to baseball, to country music -- is that they will tell you that everybody is doing it. That they are but a small part of a bigger movement.

It's just kind of how we are.

But, whatever. I've never been too concerned with what people do in their personal time to make themselves feel better, or happier or healthier. I mean, I watch pro wrestling to relax. Do your thing.

But I have criticized NBA players -- Trail Blazers, in fact -- for using drugs that have gotten them suspended by the league or their team. You take the big check to perform and that means you have to abide by the workplace rules. If you do not, your team and its fans pay the price for your selfishness by not having you available to play during a suspension.

In the NBA, use of marijuana is prohibited. Do I think that's outdated? Yes, especially in states where use is legal.

And I would back anybody trying to get those NBA rules changed or softened. People seem to find pain relief in some forms of marijuana and I would support allowing its use.

It seems to me that in today's world, NBA regulation of prescription drugs, opiates and the like, is much more important.

And really, my guess -- and it's just a guess -- is that the NBA has already relaxed its stance on weed. You just don't see or hear about players running afoul of drug tests for anything but PEDs these days.

The league is either ignoring positive marijuana tests, using outmoded forms of testing that are easily defeated or just not testing for it -- particularly if "50-85 percent" of the league's players are using.

Somebody would get caught once in a while, right?

I would urge the NBA to get on board with major-league baseball and find a more realistic approach to banned substances. The league that fancies itself as a leader in social issues is way behind.

NBA needs to find a more realistic approach to banned substances, marijuana originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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