OAKLAND -- Two months after NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he would be open to allowing medicinal marijuana, his predecessor, David Stern, said it’s time to consider removing it from the list of banned substances.
So, naturally, Warriors coach Steve Kerr had an opinion.
“I do think it’ll happen eventually,” he said during his news conference prior to the Warriors-Raptors game Wednesday night.
“The world is starting to understand that opioids are way worse for you than anything. Right now, in professional sports, we’re just quick to write a prescription for OxyContin or Percocet or something when your shoulder hurts or your knee hurts.”
Kerr speaks from experience. During his search for a remedy to pain associated with multiple back surgeries in the summer of 2015, he experimented with cannabis, something he elaborated on during a Warriors Insider Podcast last December.
The treatments provided no relief, Kerr said, but he did enough research and consultation with medical professionals to come away with the belief medicinal marijuana was worth a try.
The issue resurfaced when Stern, who presided over the league for 30 years before retiring in 2014, acknowledged in an interview this week that it may be time for the NBA to reassess its stance on marijuana.
Speaking to former Warriors forward Al Harrington -- a cannabis advocate and entrepreneur -- as part of the documentary “The Concept of Cannabis,” Stern noted that the fact that legalization in some states opens the door for allowing its use.
"I'm now at the point where personally I think it should be removed from the banned list," Stern told Harrington. "You've persuaded me."
The problem, at least for now, is that the ban remains in effect because it wasn’t rescinded as part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement.
Kerr concedes that taking marijuana off the list of banned substances is a “tricky issue,” mostly because of lingering outside perception. For some, the drug, no matter how organic, still carries a negative connotation.
“What we’re learning these days is that medical marijuana is much healthier than those alternatives,” Kerr said. “But the perception of the fans is important in terms of selling our business. But the health of the players should be, by far, the most important thing.
“You’ve got to differentiate between medicinal marijuana and recreational marijuana. I don’t think it makes sense for everybody to use recreational marijuana. I do think it makes sense to use it for specific injuries.”