Steve Kerr On Cannabis: “I’m A Proponent Of It”

California voters legalized cannabis during the 2016 election. The possession and cultivation provisions of the successful initiative went into effect the day after the election. However, the industry portion of the initiative did not get implemented until the first day of 2018.

Adult-use cannabis sales started in California on January 1, 2018, and by all accounts, the launch was a success. California has now proven that a regulated system for adult-use sales can be implemented without any issues, just as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada have already done.

Many people have weighed in on the start of adult-use sales in California, including current NBA coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors. When asked about the recent launch in California, Kerr had the following to say per The Mercury News:

“I’m a proponent of it,” Kerr said after Tuesday’s practice.

“I do feel strongly that [marijuana] is a much better option than some of the prescription drugs and I know that it’s helping a lot of people, which is great.”

This is not the first time that Steve Kerr has expressed support for cannabis. Kerr has admitted to having used cannabis after back surgery to help deal with the pain associated with the surgery, and last October stated that he thinks that the NBA will eventually end cannabis prohibition. On both occasions coach Kerr expressed support for cannabis reform in professional sports.

With so many professional sports teams being located in California and other legal states, and the expressed public support from a growing number of professional sports community members such as Steve Kerr, the Uncle Cliffy team is hopeful that pro sports leagues will listen and free the plant!

image via Flickr

Polling Shows That The NBA’s Fanbase Supports Cannabis Reform

News broke earlier this week that ex-NBA commissioner David Stern now supports ending cannabis prohibition in the National Basketball League (NBA). While his comments were a welcomed change from the stance he took while he was the head of the NBA, it was disheartening that the endorsement of NBA cannabis reform from David Stern wasn’t coupled with an apology for supporting failed NBA cannabis prohibition for so long. The Uncle Cliffy team is hopeful that it will happen in the near future.

Stern’s endorsement of cannabis reform in the NBA generated a lot of comments from current and former members of the NBA, including current Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Kerr previously stated that he had used cannabis while recovering from a recent back surgery. At the same time that he confessed to having used cannabis to deal with the surgery-related pain, he also stated that he hoped that the NBA would soften its stance on cannabis use among NBA players.

Kerr repeated his support for cannabis reform this week in response to questions about David Stern’s new cannabis revelations. When asked if he thought that the NBA would eventually allow cannabis use by players for medical purposes Kerr answered with, “I think it’ll happen.” Kerr went on to express concerns related to fan perceptions regarding cannabis reform in the NBA. Per The Mercury News:

The tricky part in the institution of the drug, according to Kerr, will be the perception of the drug by the league’s fanbase. However, Kerr admits there’s one thing that may overrule the opinions of the fans.

“The perception of the fans is important,” said Kerr. “In terms of selling our business, but the health of the players should be the most important thing.”

Fortunately for Steve Kerr, and for the health and wellness of NBA players, a growing body of polling shows a significant level of support for cannabis reform from sports fans. Marist College, in conjunction with Yahooconducted a poll in which sports fans were asked the following question – ‘Would you have more or less respect for your favorite sports athlete if you learned they used marijuana in their personal life? If it makes no difference please say so.’

A substantial 68% of poll participants expressed that if their favorite sports athlete consumed cannabis that it ‘makes no difference’ to the level of respect that they have for the athlete. An additional 3% stated that they would have more respect. Only 28% of poll respondents stated that they would have less respect for an athlete that consumes cannabis.

A combined 71% of poll participants would have equal or more respect for a professional athlete (including NBA athletes) if they found out that they consumed cannabis, and not just for medical purposes. That’s significantly more than the support for national legalization (64%) by American voters, and the same as the level of support for medical cannabis legalization in the NFL among its players (also 71%).

Another poll, conducted by PRRI, found that, “A majority (54%) of the public believe professional athletes should not be prohibited from using marijuana if they live in a state where it is legal.” Currently 8 states and Washington D.C. allow cannabis for adult use, and 29 states allow cannabis for medical use. Another 17 states allow at least the use of CBD-specific cannabis products for certain conditions. Only four states in America currently have full cannabis prohibition in place – Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Kansas, none of which have NBA teams. In the case of the Toronto Raptors, they are located in a country that has not only legalized cannabis for medical use, full legalization is on the way in mid 2018.

Polling has even shown overwhelming support for cannabis reform in professional sports leagues among sports media members. A poll conducted by The Big Lead looked specifically at the level of support for cannabis reform among sports media members. An astounding 76.5% of poll participants stated that cannabis prohibition should end. Fan perception is a valid concern for professional sports leagues like the NBA that have an image and reputation to maintain. But as polling clearly shows, there is nothing to worry about. Hopefully this data helps members of the NBA like Steve Kerr embrace cannabis reform even more. Free the plant!

image via Wikimedia

Steve Kerr And Phil Jackson Admit To Using Cannabis, And That’s A Good Thing

Pain management is something that many athletes struggle with. They struggle with the pain itself, but they also struggle with finding a wellness regimen that helps manage the pain in the best way possible. Many athletes turn to opioid based pharmaceutical painkillers, which is understandable given how professional sports leagues embrace and promote the use of them. What starts out as an injury for an athlete unfortunately often turns into a lifelong battle with addiction.

Cannabis is a proven alternative to pharmaceutical painkillers. Numerous studies have found that cannabis can help treat chronic pain. Cannabis can be consumed in measured doses via non-harmful delivery methods such as topical rubs or edibles with no risk to the athlete. Cannabis is undeniably safer than pharmaceutical painkillers, which is something that was recently pointed out by NBA Coach of the Year Steve Kerr.

Steve Kerr responded to a question on a Bay Area podcast about what he thought the NBA should do to improve its pain management policies and strategies. Below is what Steve had to say, via ABC:

“I guess maybe I could even get in some trouble for this, but I’ve actually tried [marijuana] twice during the last year and a half when I’ve been going through this pain, this chronic pain that I’ve been dealing with,” Kerr told host Monte Poole.

“A lot of research, a lot of advice from people, and I have no idea if I would — maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don’t even know if I’m subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA, but I tried it, and it didn’t help at all. But it was worth it, because I’m searching for answers on pain. But I’ve tried painkillers and drugs of other kinds, as well, and those have been worse. It’s tricky.”

“It doesn’t agree with me. I tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you got lot of pain, I don’t think there’s any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin,” Kerr, 51, said. “And yet, athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal. And there’s like this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine but pot is bad. Now, I think that’s changing.”

“You’re seeing that change in these laws that you’re talking about in different states, including California. But I would just hope that sports leagues are able to look past the perception. I’m sure the NFL is worried that their fans are going to go, ‘All the players are potheads.'”

Steve Kerr’s comments were received with various reactions from players, coaches, and fans, but a vast majority of it was positive. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, who both currently play for Steve Kerr, came out in support of their coach. Although it’s worth noting that Klay Thompson stated that he didn’t support cannabis consumption for adult-use, only for medical use. That is odd considering that Klay Thompson knows first hand that prohibition is harmful, as he was arrested in college for cannabis possession and was penalized as a result. Klay Thompson, who had recently turned 21 years old around the time of the arrest, would have been free to go had the incident occurred in Washington today.

In addition to Steve Kerr coming out in support of cannabis reform in the NBA, Phil Jackson also admitted to using cannabis to treat his pain. Per USA Today:

“[When I was recovering from back surgery], I was smoking marijuana during that period of time,” Jackson said. “I think it was a distraction for me as much as a pain reliever. But I never thought of it as ultimately a pain medication for that type of situation … We have tried to stop [marijuana use] in the NBA. I don’t think we have been able to stop it. I think it still goes on and is still a part of the culture in the NBA. It is something that we either have to accommodate or figure out another way to deal with it.”

A conversation has been growing in professional sports about cannabis reform. Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson speaking about their cannabis use obviously helps further that conversation, which is a great thing. Hopefully more current players, coaches, and executives come out of the ‘cannabis closet’ and help end the stigma. Reform in professional sports shouldn’t stop at just cannabis use for medical purposes. People suffering from various conditions that cannabis can treat should be allowed to make the safer choice if they do so. Absolutely no one should ever be forced into a situation where they either have to use harmful pharmaceuticals, suffer, or be kicked out of the league. Not when there is a proven, safer alternative.

Leagues need to remove cannabis from the banned substance lists altogether because prohibition harms players’ careers, it harms their lives, and ultimately it harms the leagues. The NBA’s product is its players, and players should only be prevented from taking the court if they have done something truly wrong or are not healthy enough to compete. There are many NFL, NBA, and MLB teams located in states (and D.C.) that have voted to legalize recreational cannabis. Those states (and D.C.) and teams are:

California – Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, San Diego Padres, Anaheim Angels

Massachusetts – Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots

Oregon – Portland Trail Blazers

Washington – Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners

Colorado – Denver Nuggets, Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies

Washington D.C. – Washington Redskins, Washington Nationals, Washington Wizards

That of course doesn’t include the teams located in the 28 states (and D.C.) that have legalized cannabis for medical use. According to the most recent Gallup Poll, 60% of Americans support ending cannabis prohibition. Cannabis has been proven to be 114 times safer than alcohol. Cannabis is not harmful to players. Cannabis prohibition is harmful to players.

Athletes can consume cannabis and be healthy and successful, proven by the combined 19 championship rings that Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson have accumulated as NBA players and coaches over the years. The NBA, NFL, MLB, PGA, and other professional sports leagues that prohibit cannabis need to wake up to the facts, get on the right side of history, and show some compassion for their athletes.

image via Sporting News