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NBA Removes Cannabis from Banned Substances and Allows Investment and Promotion Into Cannabis

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and its player’s union have recently signed a collective bargaining agreement that holds some exciting news for cannabis enthusiasts—cannabis has been removed from the league’s banned substances list.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) reached the seven-year contract just two months ago, with it officially entering into force this past weekend.

Section 20 of the new CBA agreement includes several provisions related to cannabis, such as allowing players to invest in CBD companies and hold passive interests in “marijuana businesses” (companies associated with THC).

The agreement also outlines rules for players to promote CBD companies associated with marijuana businesses, though they are still prohibited from promoting marijuana companies themselves.

Removing cannabis from the league’s list of banned substances is significant in that it illustrates how far attitudes have come towards cannabis and its normalization across all industries—even major sports leagues. It creates a new opportunity for NBA athletes to participate in the growing industry without fear of sanctions or punishment.

Furthermore, it will hopefully lead to further acceptance of cannabis reform on both a state and federal level.

Investment Rules

The new NBA and NBPA agreement outlines specific rules for player investment in cannabis companies. The agreement states that they are allowed to “hold a direct or indirect ownership interest (whether controlling or non-controlling) in an entity that produces or sells CBD Products,” which is defined as cannabis containing up to 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, consistent with the federal definition of legal hemp.

Furthermore, players can also invest in marijuana companies as long as their investment remains passive and ownership does not exceed 50 percent of the business. This is great news for those looking to break into the industry and professional athletes who need assurance that their investments will remain within legal parameters and won’t bring undue attention from league officials.

Promotion Rules

The CBA agreement also provides rules for player promotion of cannabis companies, though they are quite stringent and restrictive in comparison to the investment rules outlined above.

While players are prohibited from promoting marijuana companies, they may request permission to promote CBD products that are produced or sold by such businesses.

This requires submitting a written request to both the NBA and NBPA, including a complete list of ingredients of the products in question, a description of the proposed promotion or endorsement activity, and non-financial terms of any proposed agreement between the player and company.

However, requests may be denied if the CBD products associated with a marijuana business are “marketed or sold under a brand that also includes or refers to Marijuana Products” or if the promotion would create “a reasonable risk of public confusion with any Marijuana Product.”

The new seven-year contract between the NBA and NBPA brings some inspiring changes related to cannabis investment and promotion for players. By removing cannabis from the banned substances list, players are now able to partake in the industry without fear of punishment or sanctions.

Furthermore, allowing ownership and promotion opportunities for CBD products associated with marijuana businesses creates a unique opportunity for athletes to get involved and cash in on the budding cannabis industry.

As more companies continue to explore cannabis-related investment opportunities, it’s clear that attitudes around cannabis are beginning to change—and it seems the NBA is leading the charge. The new contract outlines several impactful changes that will no doubt encourage more players to jump into an ever-growing sector of business.

Only time will tell what other regulations will be put in place as this industry continues to evolve—but one thing’s certain: professional sports leagues like the NBA are becoming significant players in the cannabis industry.


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