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Former commissioner David Stern wants NBA to get rid of marijuana ban

Stern thinks the legality of the drug should be based on state laws and not be restricted by the NBA.

'Kareem: Minority Of One' New York Premiere Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images

Former commissioner David Stern believes that the NBA should remove marijuana from its banned substances list and treat it the same as states, he said in an Uninterrupted mini-documentary, The Concept of Cannabis. The documentary was produced by former NBA player, Al Harrington.

“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.”

Marijuana is currently legal in all forms in eight states and the District of Columbia, and decriminalized or allowed for medicinal purposes is many more. The NBA, however, currently has a strict ban on all types of marijuana — although it has a three-strike penalty program that doesn’t lead to a suspension until failing a drug test for a third time.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass responded to Stern’s latest comments in a message to SB Nation:

"While Commissioner Silver has said that we are interested in better understanding the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana, our position remains unchanged regarding the use by current NBA players of marijuana for recreational purposes."

The 75-year-old Stern ran the league from 1984 to 2014, and during his time, the NBA had harsh penalties on weed usage. Stern said players approached the league and said other players went into games while high, something that at least one player, Stephen Jackson, has fessed up to. However, Stern’s mind has apparently changed on the topic.

“I think we have to change the collective bargaining agreement and let you do what is legal in your state,” Stern said. “If marijuana is now in the process of being legalized, I think you should be allowed to do what’s legal in your state. So now I think it’s up to the sports leagues to anticipate where this is going and maybe lead the way.”