As the ex-NBA forward was in Las Vegas and idling through MJBizCon, Al Harrington had seen this day coming for a long time.
Industrial cannabis is legal in 33 states, and 11 states have voted to allow it for recreational use. And Harrington believes cannabidiol (CBD), is a more comfortable product for the NBA to accept. Harrington said NBA players were well-prepared. He estimated most of the current players he speaks to support cannabis, and their backing would be the impetus for change.
As more athletes use cannabis to relieve aches and pain, the more they fight against the NBA’s controlling of industrial marijuana.
National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts projects a league policy that will be changed by the presidential election in 2020, if not sooner. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has expressed a willingness to reconsider the forbidden behind medical marijuana. For now, cannabis and its byproducts, which include CBD, remain banned, along with more than 225 substances, by the NBA Anti-Drug Program.
Al Harrington said cannabis allowed him to be in pain-free after having 13 surgeries over his playing career. Harrington once thought to coach kids, after his retirement.
While after founding Viola, the name of his cannabis and CBD brands, Al Harrington believed he had found his place. “I have a bigger purpose in my life,” Harrington said.
While in the NBA, Harrington later turned to THC. in the end, He started smoking weed. By the final year of his career in 2013-14, when he signed with the Washington Wizards, Harrington said he was open to others about his use of marijuana.
“We think that athletes use cannabis to get high, and that’s not true,” said Antonio Harvey, another EX-NBA player who founded Terra Mater Cannabis Company. Their bodies are beaten day and night. And many people use cannabis to relieve the pain of the body. They don’t get high to get high. They get high to make the body feel better.
Ironically, the NBA authority banned industrial marijuana and related products such as CBD in professional sports, but many current players are already taking some.
while the U.S. FDA has allowed the first-ever drug with an active ingredient extracted from marijuana for extreme cases of epilepsy, the agency “has not approved a marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition,” according to a statement on the FDA’s website.
Harrington thinks his mission broader than just benefiting NBA athletes. NBA policy remains still, but Harrington believes as the partnership of the most visible and outspoken NBA players can help change sports — and lives.
“When my obituary is written,” Harrington said. “I hope a hundred thousand families will be saying the opportunity that Al Harrington and Viola provided changed my life forever.”
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