As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, J.R. Smith has been suspended by the NBA for five games without pay after violating the league’s anti-drug policy with a positive drug test showing cannabis in his system.
The suspension was handed down today after Smith tested positive for marijuana, a source revealed to Yahoo! Sports. Marijuana is derived from the cannabis plant genus. Here are the rules surrounding positive drug tests as set forth by the NBA’s anti-drug policy, via ESPN’s True Hoop blog (emphasis ours):
All NBA players are subject to four (4) random tests each season (from October 1 to June 30). All players are also subject to two (2) random tests each off-season (from July 1 to September 30). All such tests are scheduled and conducted by an independent, third-party entity and are without prior notice to the player. The NBA and the NBPA are not involved in the scheduling of any tests or the selection of players for testing.
A first failed test for “drugs of abuse” — cocaine, speed, heroin, LSD and the like — results in instant disqualification from the league. In some cases, most recently Chris Andersen, such players are later reinstated.
Marijuana has its own more lenient standards, where a first positive test results in treatment, a second positive result means treatment and a fine, and third positive test calls for a five-game suspension.
So Smith had to have tested positive for cannabis at least two other times in order to receive a five-game suspension.
Something to keep in mind before you read the media reactions, which we’re guessing will be largely critical of Smith, but marijuana is legal to consume in two states â€” Washington and Colorado â€” after laws discontinuing the prohibition of marijuana were passed during the 2012 elections. President Barack Obama has since said the Justice Department will respect recent state legislation despite their conflict with the current federal laws deeming marijuana an illegal schedule 1 drug. Currently, there are 20 states that actively offer marijuana as a means of medical treatment.
Even with the public’s increased awareness about cannabis’ largely harmless nature and a drive to decriminalize the drug on a state-by-state level, the NBA is clear on the issue. Like recently released Suns forward Michael Beasley â€” who was let go after marijuana was discovered in his car early in August â€” J.R. Smith needs to heed the league’s rules just like anyone that works for a company with a strict no drug policy in its bylaws.
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