In a big step, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant introduced a partnership and sponsorship cope with hashish market Weedmaps on Thursday and stated he plans to make use of his platform to destigmatize marijuana use amongst athletes.
Durant has been an advocate for the advantages of marijuana previously and has invested in cannabis-related companies. It is the furthest an energetic main professional athlete, particularly one with Durant’s visibility, has gone within the pot house.
“I feel it is previous time to handle the stigmas round hashish that also exist within the sports activities world in addition to globally,” Durant informed ESPN. “This partnership goes to assist us proceed to normalize these conversations, in addition to create content material, occasions, and much more by our Boardroom media community. That is just the start for us.”
Weedmaps would not instantly promote marijuana however is an e-commerce platform that guides customers to dispensaries. Durant declined to instantly focus on private marijuana utilization.
Marijuana stays banned by the NBA however exists in a decriminalized grey space. League guidelines presently require 4 random checks for marijuana per 12 months however these checks have been informally halted when the league re-started within the Orlando bubble in 2020 after which did not return within the 2020-21 season.
Representatives from the league workplace and participant’s union informed ESPN Thursday that there’s ongoing dialogue about marijuana however there are presently no concrete plans to formally change the rule. The league nonetheless does drug testing and final month suspended Toronto Raptors guard Jalen Harris for a 12 months due to violations of the anti-drug coverage.
Partially due to the sensitivity of the problem, forging the deal was a drawn-out course of. Negotiations with Weedmaps, which grew to become a public firm in June, between Durant and enterprise accomplice Wealthy Kleiman have lasted the previous six months. Different high-profile athletes have endorsed CBD merchandise, together with WNBA star Sue Chook, however none with Durant’s stature have delved into the marijuana house till now.
“There is a shifting tradition and it takes a celebrity like KD to embrace this and assist others not be afraid to debate the advantages,” stated former NBA participant Matt Barnes, a marijuana advocate who has stated he smoked pot most of his 14-year profession. “This has been a course of. There have been conferences occurring with the league and union for a number of years and either side have employed consultants to research this. It is a massive step.”
Disciplinary actions for pot violations had slowed earlier than the pandemic. The final participant to be suspended for utilizing marijuana was Thabo Sefolosha in 2018.
“I am not going to put on that as a badge of honor,” stated Sefolosha, who did not play final season after 14 years within the league. “I used to be combating internally to alter the principles. It is one thing that ought to’ve been handled a very long time in the past. I perceive the league would not wish to put it up for sale. I am not one to promote marijuana and it isn’t one thing I would encourage my children to do. I do not wish to ship the flawed message. But it surely’s a contented substitute for tougher medication, ones the crew physician would possibly even provide you with, and alcohol, and I needed to study that alone.”
That’s what Durant intends to handle and plans to stage a marketing campaign by rolling out podcasts and video content material below his Boardroom media banner within the coming months. His hope, Durant stated, is that a few of his friends within the league will be a part of him in discussing marijuana’s advantages.
Or as Durant stated on the “Boardroom: Out of Workplace” podcast launched Thursday to announce the deal: “The Band-Assist has been ripped off.”