Are NBA Basketball Players Allowed to Vape Weed?

Weed is becoming more commonplace every day. More states (even politically conservative states like Montana) continue to legalize medical or recreational use, but sports organizations have been slow to adapt. The NFL has been famously resistant to more liberal marijuana policies, only this year stating they won’t suspend players who test positive for THC.

The NBA, on the other hand, has been more liberal in its policies of marijuana use. During the 2019-2020 Playoffs, players residing in the Orlando Bubble were informed that they would not be tested for THC. While this seemed like an exception caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many were curious if this policy would continue into the current NBA season.

Read below to see this NBA season’s policy for vaping weed!

NBA Players Officially Can’t Vape Weed (but practically, they can).

The NBA policy on file is still that NBA players cannot consume or smoke products with THC. However, they recently announced that they would not be testing players for THC. Since they aren’t testing, there isn’t anything preventing players from vaping weed.

This Policy May Not Be Permanent

The official reason for this policy is for COVID-19 precautions. Officials want to avoid as much unnecessary contact as possible, and frequent drug testing could expose players to the disease. Though technically a temporary change, there are rumblings that this might lead to a permanent change in NBA policy towards marijuana use amongst its players.

It May Not Matter Whether This Policy Is Permanent or Not

Even if officials don’t intend on the policy to be permanent, it may not matter. The House of Representatives just passed a bill that would legalize marijuana at the federal level. While the Senate may or may not vote on it soon, it’s hallmark legislation that has never passed a chamber of Congress before.

Weed is banned by the NBA because of its legal status, not because it is a performance enhancer. Much like alcohol, THC intoxication inhibits athletes’ ability to play well (vaping weed outside of games wouldn’t impact performance at all).

If weed is legalized at the federal level, the NBA will likely strike the marijuana ban entirely from its controlled substance list entirely.

Can Players or Fans Vape Weed or Other Substances in Stadiums?

Like many other sports arenas, NBA stadiums regulate vaping similarly to how they regulate tobacco. Some will allow for vaping to occur in designated areas, while others will prohibit inside vaping entirely.

Neither players nor fans should expect to be able to use a wax pen in the stadium. Weed is still a banned substance for players, and while they aren’t being tested for THC, flagrantly disregarding NBA policy will have negative consequences.

For the public, most states do not allow the public consumption of THC products. This includes vaping weed, even though it is discreet and nearly indiscernible from nicotine-infused e-juices popular in e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

Players Can Effectively Vape Weed, but Changes Are Common

Players are basically allowed to vape weed in the NBA since there is no testing. However, rules and regulations are always subject to change. Expect to see another policy update in the spring when the players’ union negotiates with the association again.