“It’s something I feel strongly about, just to let you know something personal about me. I will deal with the consequences from it. It’s a banned substance in my league. But I believe in marijuana and the medical side of it. I know what it is if I’m going to use it.
“I study it and I know the benefits it has. In a lot of ways we’ve been deprived. You can’t really label it with so many other drugs that people can be addicted to and have so many negative effects on your body and your family and your relationships and impairment. This is not the same thing.
“The stigma is that it’s illegal. I hate that. Once this becomes legal, this all will go away. But I understand for my work it’s a banned substance. I will deal with the consequences and I apologize again to my fans for that.”
—Bucks center Larry Sanders, as told to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Larry Sanders was recently suspended five games for violating the NBA’s Substance Abuse Policy. He admitted he tested positive for marijuana use and apologized for letting his teammates and his organization down.
But this quote suggests something else. It suggests Sanders is going to continue using marijuana during the season and skirt by the NBA’s substance abuse policy and drug testing. That should make him a target of sorts.
There is no denying however that public perception of marijuana use is changing. Two states — Washington and Colorado — have already passed measures allowing for recreational marijuana use. Public opinion polls show the majority of the nation believes marijuana usage should be legal.
That does not change the fact that the NBA and its players have agreed in collective bargaining that marijuana usage should not be allowed in their work place. This has nothing to do with opinion polls or public perception.
So Larry Sanders might be too far out on a limb here. And he might be facing further penalties if he does not change his act.