Sha’Carri Richardson says she could be “blessed” if her marijuana suspension resulted in the long run of the ban on different athletes

Online marijuana marketplace Weedmaps is partnering with NBA star Kevin Durant in a multi-year partnership aimed at destigmatizing cannabis and demonstrating the plant’s potential for “athletic wellness and recreation.”

Together with Thirty Five Ventures, a philanthropic organization founded by Durant, they plan to boost the discussion on athletics and marijuana as more states push legalization and more athletes begin to open up about their relationship with the plant.

“It’s no secret that many of the current attitudes towards cannabis are rooted in outdated beliefs and, frankly, lies about the plant that have been perpetuated for decades,” Chris Beals, CEO of Weedmaps, told Marijuana Moment, adding, that the aim of the new effort is to “have a fresh dialogue on how cannabis can be used for the recreation of athletes”.

“Through this partnership, we will seek to further eradicate the stigmas that have made cannabis use so taboo, especially among athletes, while also providing wider education about the plant’s many far-reaching benefits and potential for general wellbeing,” he said .

The new partnership will include an original content series produced by Boardroom and Weedmaps, which is expected to be released next year. It will also include podcasts, co-branded events, and exclusive merchandising items.

Durant said the stigma surrounding marijuana use among athletes is gradually disappearing. “The patch got ripped off in the sports world,” he said. “However, it’s kind of an undercover thing for players to consume cannabis and use it while actively playing.”

“I’ve always found it interesting that the rest of the world is a little slower to talk about cannabis and its use, but if you walk down the street – I live in San Francisco – you go around the corner and there are four or” five pharmacies around them Corner.”

Yet, “Athletes are still being tested for cannabis four times a year, and it just felt like the world was starting to take in people’s opinions about cannabis use. said Durant.

Beals said the cannabis industry is now in a position to “embark on a path that will provide opportunities for many people and give back to the communities that have, frankly, been screwed up by the war on drugs.”

“To be able to partner up and tell stories – there are so many types of OGs and people who have come through and made their way to this point where we are now, and I mean, I could not imagine a better partnership to help shed light, ”he said.

While drug testing has been the norm in the athletics world for decades – and recently resulted in the controversial suspension of U.S. Olympic sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who tested positive for cannabis prior to this year’s event – anti-marijuana policies appear to be easing within certain Leagues.

For example, in December, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said a temporary policy not to randomly test players for marijuana could become permanent.

Rather than ordering blanket testing, he said the league will target players who show signs of problematic addiction rather than those who “casually use marijuana.”

The NBA first announced a temporary suspension of cannabis drug testing last year as players ended their season in the so-called “bubble” arena in Orlando due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was later expanded to cover the entire 2020-2021 season following an agreement between the players’ union.

Michele Roberts, chairman of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), who also joined the board of directors of major cannabis company Cresco Labs last year, predicted in an interview that a formal change to the unlimited codification of the policy would be “next season” could take place. “

Proponents have broadly embraced internal marijuana policy reforms at other major professional sports organizations, arguing that they are long overdue, especially given the ever-expanding legalization movement.

The NFL’s drug testing policy has demonstrably changed in the past year, for example as part of a collective agreement. The policy does not allow NFL players to be banned from games for testing positive for drugs, not just marijuana.

Similarly, in 2019 the MLB decided to remove cannabis from the league’s list of prohibited substances. Baseball players can use marijuana with no disciplinary risk, but officials made it clear last year that under the influence they cannot work and enter into sponsorship deals with cannabis companies, at least for now.

Regarding the new partnership with Weedmaps, Durant said in a press release that “there are now more opportunities than ever for the cannabis industry to grow and remove any remaining stigma surrounding its use.”

“As a technology leader in the industry, Weedmaps has been at the forefront of change for the past decade,” he said. “By partnering with Boardroom and Thirty Five Ventures, they have shown an even greater commitment to innovation.”

“As the largest technology provider in the industry, we take our responsibility seriously to lead the national discussion about cannabis and the need to update cannabis regulations across the board,” said Beals. “This partnership with Kevin Durant, Rich Kleiman and the team at Thirty Five Ventures is a critical step in our ongoing efforts to break down the stigma of cannabis, especially in the sports industry.”

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