By: Deanna J. Lucci and Danielle M. Dwyer
On April 26, 2023, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced the ratification of its new, seven-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). The CBA will take effect on July 1, 2023, and will run through the 2029-30 season. The CBA provides, among other things, certain key changes to cannabis-related matters, particularly in connection with the NBA’s Anti-Drug Program and NBA players’ business opportunities.
According to a summary of the agreement as reported by Law360, the NBA decided to remove cannabis from its Prohibited Substances List. However, NBA players are still subject to random drug tests. The NBA has authority to conduct up to 1,925 random urine tests each season. In addition, teams may refer players to a treatment program if they suspect them of (1) being under the influence of cannabis while participating in league activities, or (2) experiencing a dependency on cannabis.
Furthermore, the NBA may still discipline players for violating the law or for being under the influence during league or team activities. Players who neglect or fail to comply with the Anti-Drug Program will be banned from league activity. Nevertheless, players may now apply for reinstatement of eligibility after one year, as opposed to the two-year rule enforced since 1983.
NBA players are also now permitted to: (1) invest in companies that make CBD-infused products, and (2) hold a passive, non-controlling interest in companies that make products with more substantial concentrations of THC. Although players may now promote companies that make CBD-infused products, the NBA continues to prohibit players from promoting cannabis companies and marijuana products.