Kevin Durant, the star guard for the Brooklyn Nets, signed a collaboration and sponsorship arrangement with cannabis marketplace Weedmaps on Thursday, saying he wants to utilize his platform to de-stigmatize marijuana usage among athletes.\
Durant has previously been a proponent of marijuana’s advantages and has invested in cannabis-related businesses. It’s the furthest any active big pro player has gone in the pot, especially one with Durant’s celebrity.
Weedmaps is an e-commerce website that directs customers to dispensaries rather than selling marijuana directly. Durant was adamant about not discussing his own marijuana use.
The NBA continues to prohibit marijuana use, although it exists in a decriminalized grey area. The league’s current regulations demand four marijuana random tests each year, but such tests were unofficially suspended when the league re-started in the Orlando bubble in 2020 and subsequently did not return in the 2020-21 season.
Representatives from the league office and the players’ union told ESPN on Thursday that there is a continuous discussion regarding marijuana, but no firm plans to modify the regulation at this time. The NBA still conducts drug tests, and Toronto Raptors player Jalen Harris was suspended for a year last month for violating the anti-drug policy.
Forging the agreement took a long time, partly due to the sensitivity of the subject. Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman have been negotiating with Weedmaps, which went public in June, for the past six months. Other high-profile athletes, such as WNBA star Sue Bird, have supported CBD products, but no one of Durant’s prominence has dabbled in marijuana until now. Prior to the epidemic, disciplinary proceedings for marijuana offenses had decreased. Thabo Sefolosha was the most recent athlete to be banned for marijuana use in 2018. Durant hopes that some of his NBA teammates will join him in addressing the advantages of marijuana.