NBA player Kevin Durant has announced a partnership and sponsorship this week with cannabis marketplace giant Weedmaps.
Weedmaps doesn’t directly sell marijuana to anyone but is an e-commerce platform that guides users to dispensaries.
Durant says he wants to use his platform to destigmatize marijuana among athletes.
This is not the first time the basketball player has advocated for the benefits of cannabis. He has also invested into marijuana related businesses.
“I think it’s far past time to address the stigmas around cannabis that still exist in the sports world as well as globally,” Durant said to ESPN. “This partnership is going to help us continue to normalize those conversations, as well as create content, events, and a lot more through our Boardroom media network. This is just the beginning for us.”
Durant declined to directly discuss personal marijuana usage.
Cannabis is still banned by the NBA but exists in a decriminalized gray area. The League currently requires four random tests for marijuana per year but those tests were informally halted when the league re-started in the Orlando bubble in 2020.
They didn’t return in the 2020-21 season.
Representatives from the league office and player’s union said to ESPN on Thursday that there is ongoing discussions about marijuana but no plan to change the rule.
“There’s a shifting culture and it takes a superstar like KD to embrace this and help others not be afraid to discuss the benefits,” said former NBA player Matt Barnes.
“This has been a process. There have been meetings going on with the league and union for several years and both sides have hired experts to investigate this. This is a big step.”
Durant is hoping that some of his peers in the league will join him in discussing marijuana’s benefits. He said on the “Boardroom: Out of Office” podcast released Thursday to announce the deal: “The Band-Aid has been ripped off.”