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A marijuana industry expert predicted last year that at least one major professional sports league would lift its ban on medical cannabis in 2017. That probably will not happen with just several weeks remaining before year’s end. But that prediction is closer to fruition.

Sports Illustrated reports that David Stern, a former NBA commissioner, now gives the thumbs-up for ending the marijuana ban for basketball’s professional league.

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Stern, who vigilantly oversaw the ban during his tenure, told retired NBA player Al Harrington in an interview that there’s “universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”

Harrington, now working in the cannabis industry, is producing a documentary on medical pot. According to the former athlete, players, coaches and owners across the league smoke marijuana.

However, many believe the break though will come in football, where the NFL Players Association is advocating for a change in the league’s drug policy, according to NBC Sports. One main reason is that medical marijuana is viewed as a better alternative to pain killers or opioids.

Dr. Daniel Clauw, a University of Michigan professor of anesthesiology, supports medical marijuana as an alternative to addictive opioids to help athletes manage pain, NPR reported.

Football players live with pain—even years into their retirement—probably more than athletes in other professional sports. The pain specialist published a study that found medical marijuana use significantly decreased opioids for chronic pain.

What’s the next step for the NBA? Stern said the league should change the Collective Bargaining Agreement to allow players to “do what is legal in your state.”

SOURCE:  Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports, NPR

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