Former NBA player and advocate for cannabis legalization, Al Harrington, believes that changes to the NBA’s policy on CBD use are long overdue.

Following the announcement that MLB is removing cannabis from its list of banned substances, Harrington said it was high time the NBA saw cannabis as a safer and healthier alternative for pain management than opioids. What’s more, he focused on cannabidiol (CBD) in particular — the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which research has shown to reduce opioid use among athletes and the general public as well. 

Having spent 16 years in the NBA, he is well aware that in order for a change to happen, it has to start with the players. He estimates that around 90% of the current player-base backs the use of CBD for pain management and believes that their support will help push change forward. 

Harrington founded his own cannabis company, Viola Brands, in 2011. The company is named after Harrington’s grandmother, who witnessed first-hand how CBD products helped with her glaucoma and diabetes. 

Harrington also launched another CBD-brand last year — Harrington Wellness. The brand is co-founded by Harrington, Sanford Kunkel (a former physician for the Indiana Pacers), and an NBA trainer — Joe Abunassar. 

The former basketball player says that he is now able to lead a pain-free life thanks to CBD. After going through 13 surgeries over the course of his career, he says that he uses cannabis to cope with the pain and not to get high. 

Other former players who dabble in the cannabis business concur with his statement. 

Profit is not the only thing this businessman has in mind. According to him, his purpose in life is not just to use cannabis to change sports but to also make lives better for others, as well as to create more job opportunities in the cannabis industry for the black community

Although Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner, has expressed a willingness to rethink the ban on medical cannabis use, for the time being, weed stays on the list of over 225 substances banned under the NBA Anti-Drug Program.