NBA Superstar Kevin Durant Partners with Weedmaps to Destigmatize Cannabis


Illustration: IG: @ScottSmoker

Arguably the biggest name amongst active NBA players made a splash in headlines on Thursday. Brooklyn Nets superstar, Kevin Durant, announced a blockbuster partnership and sponsorship deal with Weedmaps, an e-commerce platform that directs its users to dispensaries’ locations, websites, and products.

Durant plans to use this platform to help destigmatize the perception of cannabis and normalize its use among athletes. “In the sports world, it’s kind of an undercover thing that players use cannabis. And use it throughout actively playing.” Durant proclaims on Board Room: Out of the Office.

As cannabis is becoming more widely accepted and with federal legalization burgeoning, many former players have entered the cannabis space. Examples include Matt Barnes, who also hosts a podcast with Stephen “Stack” Jackson, All The Smoke; Al Harrington, with his ever-growing company Viola, named after his grandmother; Shawn Kemp with his Seattle based dispensary, Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis; Baron Davis, with his backing of THC infused beverage company, Cann; and John Salley, with his daddy-daughter duo company, Deuces 22, to name the most notable.

What makes Durant’s announcement so groundbreaking is he’s the first active player to publicly engage in a cannabis endeavor—especially one of his stature. The two-time NBA Champion is poised to add some color to the gray area in which cannabis seems to be within the league. Cannabis remains on the banned substance list but was decriminalized in the spring of this year. Per NBA policy, each player is issued 4 random drug tests per year, which players saw a relief from after the Orlando Bubble restart up until the end of the 2020-21 season.

The last players to receive sanctions for the substance were Thabo Sefolosha and Nerlens Noel in 2018, up until last month. Toronto Raptors guard Jalen Harris received a 1-year suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Sefolosha and Noel each received 5 game suspensions without pay. The former took to Twitter to render an apology at the time.

League office representatives and the NBPA told ESPN Thursday that there is ongoing dialogue about cannabis but there are currently no concrete plans to formally change the rule, although much of society seems to be coming around. According to Durant, “the stigma in society, the band-aid has been ripped off… 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.” Hopefully, Kevin Durant will be that catalyst the NBA needs to see change when it comes to the most talked-about plant on the planet.

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