Cannabis, or as the government has brainwashed the masses to refer to it as, marijuana, is still a schedule 1 drug according to the federal government’s atavistic drug determinations. People can, and do, go to jail for a nonviolent cannabis possession charge. But this didn’t stop Colorado from voting yes on Amedment 64 last night, which will legalize cannabis state-wide. Yes, it will still be illegal on the federal level, so don’t light up that spliff on the streets just yet; however, the legality of the law is still up in the air moving forward, and so is the NBA-tinged reaction from excellent Denver Post beat columnist, Benjamin Hochman.
In his piece, Hochman notes the conflict between the new Colorado law, which would treat cannabis just like alcohol or tobacco, and the NBA’s new CBA, which requires an NBA player to enter into a Marijuana Program after the first instance of a positive test, and for subsequent arrests or positive tests: fines, re-admittance to the “Program” and finally game suspensions. These are pretty passive punishments when compared to the thought of a jail term, but Hochman makes an interesting concluding point:
It, of course, will be fascinating to see how this all plays out. If marijuana is just like alcohol in the state of Colorado, and an NBA player can’t be busted for having alcohol in his system, then why would he get busted for having pot in his system?
That’s the real crux of his question, since testing positive for cannabis, which can stay in your body’s fat cells for up to 6 weeks after use (fat coats most cells in the brain, which is why cannabis sativa affects your brain’s neurotransmission of electrical impulses), is illegal in the new CBA. But it’s no longer illegal in Colorado. So if
JaVale McGee Andre Miller* were to have toked up after last night’s win against Toronto, he is able to do so, legally, within Colorado. But if he’s drug tested by the league, and likely tests positive, he’ll face a reprimand dependent on whether he’s tested positive before.**
I could, and have, waxed poetic about cannabis and the game of basketball, but the differentiation between the CBA and the law of the land now in Colorado, makes for a tricky legal battle for both sides if a player wants to challenge the new CBA in court.
Personally, I see many pros and cons to the often salubrious affects of cannabis on the brain, but I don’t have the time or energy to expound on them at length here (yes, apathy is a common side-effect of cannabis consumption, but that’s not what’s happening in this instance). I think cannabis legalization is important if only because our country’s jails are oversaturated with nonviolent criminals, many of whom have been arrested simply for possession of a small amount for personal use. It makes sense to discuss cannabis legalization rationally without political agitprop and Nancy Reagan this is your brain on drugs, but we’re just not there yet. You might have said the same thing about the impossibility of a mixed-race President or same-sex marriage just 20 years ago. Time naturally allows silly or outdated modes of thinking to eventually percolate to the forefront of our country’s legislature and their constituencies. So maybe I’ll live to see the day when you can smoke a little hash on the weekends without fear of being incarcerated or of public repudiation for a pretty popular lifestyle choice. It’s just not happening today, or tomorrow, or next week for that matter. But maybe it’ll be discussed when the new CBA can be opted out of in 2016.
*I don’t think Andre Miller smokes herb, but I didn’t want to use JaVale McGee because some people would not have interpreted it the right way. I just needed a Nugget*** that’s on the current roster.
**This is not publicly available as far as I know, but if you have a link showing which players have tested positive, or how far along the league’s mandated punishment scale they fall, I’d love to see it.
***Perhaps presciently, “nugget” was the colloquialism of choice in upstate New York for female-only cannabis.