With the steps that Oregon has been taking since 1998 to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use, it shouldn’t be surprising that former Portland Trailblazer Cliff Robinson launched his “Uncle Spliffy” business venture and now enjoys the distinction of being the highest professional athlete to endorse cannabis as alternative medicine for athletes.
In explaining this move when talking with Blazer’s Edge, Robinson said,
When people get the tremendous amount of mental and physical stress that athletes have to endure over the course of a season, I think their bodies take a pounding. Just from the pounding itself, the CBDs (cannabidiols), the oils, and the topicals would be great for athletes.
The NBA continues to list medical marijuana as a prohibited substance despite cannabis being legal in 24 states, 4 out of which have legalized recreational use as well.
As the law states so clearly below, players will face prosecution if they are caught indulging in marijuana when tested:
Article IV, Subsection C:
If a player tests positive for marijuana, or if he is convicted of, or pleads guilty to, the use or possession of marijuana, he will be required to submit to treatment, counseling, and aftercare testing in the Program. A second violation will result in a $25,000 fine, and any subsequent violations will result in a suspension that is 5 games longer than the player’s immediately-preceding marijuana suspension.
Robinson himself was reprimanded twice during his 18-year career for the use of marijuana, which is why he hopes for a policy change in the future. This opportunity will present itself during the 2017 CBA, but it won’t be a reality – not unless athletes are more vocal about this. While we are on the subject, check out the NBA All-SToner Team.
Until the next round of talks come around, it’s kind of a moot subject. I think it’s going to take athletes themselves to speak out. It’s going to take more athletes who use it as a medicine or responsibly use it as recreation. Until that happens, it’s going to continue to be an uphill climb. – Robinson adds.
Robinson’s use of cannabis during his tenure as a high profile basketball player was derived by an incompatibility with the medication prescribed by team doctors. In fact, it was his stomach that did not take the medication well, and cannabis soothed this discomfort, as well as calm his nerves.
Yet, there’s an added element to this situation: apart from relieving discomfort temporarily, players tend to get addicted to these pharmaceutical drugs, while cannabis is a much better option. What is unfortunate is that while cannabis, as a treatment for chronic pain, has become available to the general public, this is not the same for professional athletes.
Which is why he also points out:
There’s a lot of narcotics that are very addictive, and if you look at any pharmaceutical drug that’s being marketed on television, on the radio, or anything like that, they all come with multiple side effects. I think from that standpoint alone, we need to look into alternative means of treating different illnesses.
Of course, now that he has been retired for nine years, he has recently decided to open a business in Portland, where its name is based on a play on words with his NBA moniker, Uncle Cliffy. Named Uncle Spliffy, it will offer marijuana cigarettes that contain both cannabis and tobacco.