The National Basketball Association and its players' union have agreed that players will be tested for performance-enhancing drugs when the league restarts at Disney World, but not recreational drugs, CBS Sports reports. The NBA suspended its season amid the coronavirus pandemic and the league and union are finalising details for a shortened, “bubble” season to finish to the year.
The proposal was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
On Monday, the league also reinstated Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk who was suspended indefinitely at the start of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, according to the Charlotte Observer. The Hornets are not included in the 22-team restart plan set for late July.
The NBA’s relaxed drug policy for the league’s resumption coincides with Cresco Labs announcing that it added NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts to its board, although it’s unlikely the NBA’s drug testing decision is related to her appointment. Roberts has served as executive director of the union since 2014.
In 2018, Roberts said the league was “exploring” medical exemptions for NBA players to use medical cannabis but said federal law stood in the way. At that time, anti-cannabis zealot Jeff Sessions was still serving as attorney general of the U.S. and Roberts said she was concerned about players being arrested at airports at the behest of “a crazed” AG.
Under the league’s collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and NBPA, players who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs will be suspended for 25 games for a first violation, 55 games for a second violation, and are banned from the league for a minimum of two years for a third violation.
Under normal rules, players can be drug tested up to four times per season and twice in the offseason.