In an interview with former NBA player Al Harrington, ex-NBA commissioner David Stern said he is in favor of removing marijuana from the league’s list of banned substances.
“I’m now at the point where, personally, I think [marijuana] probably should be removed from the ban list,” Stern said. “I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”
Harrington, who became a cannabis entrepreneur after retiring from the NBA, produced a documentary with UNINTERRUPTED to highlight the medicinal use of marijuana in professional sports. The 37-year-old said he believes “over 70 percent of athletes in major sports smoke marijuana.”
“I think it’s that big,” Harrington said. “Not only the players, but I think coaches consume, I think the owners consume. I think in sports it’s very prevalent and it’s right there.”
As part of the documentary, Harrington invited Stern to speak about the drug because “he was the commissioner during the roughest time for the NBA for drugs.”
Stern, who served as commissioner from 1984-2014, said his policies were appropriate at the time. “Some of our players came to us and said [players] were high coming into the game, so we began tightening it up,” he said.
However, the 75-year-old said he realizes the perception of marijuana has changed.
“It’s a completely different perception,” Stern added. “I think we have to change the Collective Bargaining Agreement and let you do what is legal in your state. If marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, I think you should be allowed to do what’s legal in your state.”
Harrington, the No. 25 pick in the 1998 NBA draft, said he first used medical marijuana after a botched knee surgery during his time with the Nuggets. A journeyman throughout his 16-year career, Harrington also spent time with the Pacers, Hawks, Warriors, Knicks, Magic and Wizards.