Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant announced a partnership and sponsorship deal with cannabis marketplace Weedmaps on Thursday and said he plans to use his platform to destigmatize marijuana use among athletes.
Durant has been an advocate for the benefits of marijuana in the past and has invested in cannabis-related businesses. It’s the furthest an active major pro athlete, especially one with Durant’s visibility, has gone in the pot space.
“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 told 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.”
Weedmaps doesn’t directly sell marijuana but is an e-commerce platform that guides users to dispensaries. Durant declined to directly discuss personal marijuana usage.
Marijuana remains banned by the NBA but exists in a decriminalized gray area. League rules currently require four random tests for marijuana per year but those tests were informally halted when the league re-started in the Orlando bubble in 2020 and then didn’t return in the 2020-21 season.
Representatives from the league office and player’s union told ESPN Thursday that there is ongoing dialogue about marijuana but there are currently no concrete plans to formally change the rule. The league still does drug testing and last month suspended Toronto Raptors guard Jalen Harris for a year because of violations of the anti-drug policy.