The NBA Should Not Penalize Miles Plumlee For Cannabis Arrest
According to multiple reports, Atlanta Hawks center Miles Plumlee was recently arrested for personal cannabis possession in Long Island, New York. The arrest was first reported by longtime NBA reporter Peter Vecsey (the same Peter Vecsey that gave Cliff Robinson the nickname ‘Uncle Spliffy’). Few details about the arrest have surfaced other than that Miles Plumlee paid $100 following the arrest, and that the arrest was for possession of a personal amount of cannabis.
In the state of New York, possession of less than 25 grams of cannabis (first offense) carries a penalty of $100. If that was the case for Miles Plumlee, his situation is not really a big deal. To illustrate that point, consider the fact that possession of up to one ounce while away from a person’s residence is legal in 8 states and our nation’s capital. The possession limits are even greater when someone is possessing cannabis at home in those states. Had Miles been in possession of the same amount of cannabis in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, or Washington D.C., he would have been free to go and his name would never have been dragged through the media mud.
Unfortunately now, in addition to the unfair stigma that Plumlee will have to deal with for years to come, Miles is likely to be punished by the NBA. The NBA’s policy dictates that a first time cannabis offense requires a player to enter treatment. The penalties get steeper with every subsequent offense. The NBA does not have a public database that shows how many violations a player has, if any, so it is undetermined at this point what could happen to Miles from a league standpoint.
The Uncle Cliffy team urges the NBA to not penalize Miles Plumlee. If all Miles was doing was possessing a personal amount of cannabis and no one was harmed by his actions, then he really did nothing wrong. Miles is simply the victim of an outdated, failed public policy. Miles Plumlee has been recovering from knee surgery, and it is quite possible that the cannabis he was in possession of was for medical purposes. Had Miles Plumlee been a registered medical cannabis patient in one of the 29 states that have legalized medical cannabis, and been caught in that state or a state that has a reciprocity cannabis law on the books, he would have never been arrested.
Miles is originally from Indiana, and currently plays in Georgia. Where he lives is not known, but unless he is a citizen of New York, he would not be eligible to enroll as a medical cannabis patient in New York where he was caught with cannabis. But just because a player crosses state lines does not mean that the need for medicine goes away. The NBA should apply some logic and have some compassion for its player and not penalize Miles Plumlee. After all, he was caught possessing a plant that is legal in 8 states for adult use, 29 states for medical use, and no one was harmed by his actions. With cannabis being 114 times safer than alcohol, a substance which is widely embraced by the NBA, penalizing Miles Plumlee for a cannabis offense away from the team during the offseason makes no sense. As Dan Feldman from NBC Sports put it in his article about Plumlee’s arrest, ‘Why is the NBA penalizing players for something that ranges from a petty offense to completely legal?’
“I grew up in New York State. Having had my own run in with cannabis prohibition in New York, I can say firsthand that New York’s prohibition laws are unjust and harmful. This is something that Mr. Plumlee will have to deal with long after his encounter with law enforcement. Not only will he have to deal with the stigma that comes with being an NBA player caught with cannabis, his family will have to deal with it too, which is unfortunate. Hopefully the NBA takes a rational approach to the situation, and Miles can get back to focusing on basketball.” said Cliff Robinson.
image via Peach Tree Hoops