2020Drug Testing
Drug Testing

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have agreed to temporarily suspend the random drug testing of NBA players for marijuana in the 2020-21 season that is scheduled to begin on December 22, 2020, according to a statement from NBA spokesperson Mike Bass.

“Due to the unusual circumstances in conjunction with the pandemic, we have agreed with the NBPA to suspend random testing for marijuana for the 2020-21 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse,” Bass said in the statement, referencing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NBA enacted a similar policy during the pandemic shortened 2019-2020 season, part of which took place in a “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Marijuana remains a banned substance in the NBA. While random marijuana testing is suspended, marijuana testing in cases of “cause” remains in place.

The NBA is not the first sports league to restrict marijuana drug testing. In December 2019, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) announced changes to the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program that included removing marijuana from the Drugs of Abuse list.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of December 14, 2020, there are more than 72.3 million global cases and 1.6 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 16.2 million cases and 299,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

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