A lot of people are probably surprised by the news that Matt Barnes (a 15 year forward in the NBA) is claiming a large percentage of players regularly use cannabis. Athletes in all sports are supposed to have some sort of drug testing program in place. Not only for federally controlled substances, but performance enhancing drugs as well. Both of these pose potentially career-changing consequences for the high percentage of cannabis users currently playing. Athletes are subject to four random test throughout each NBA season. Once they complete those tests, they would be free to use cannabis as they please without worrying. The off-season is free from drug testing as well. These rules on drug testing do provide an opportunity for those who choose to indulge, and according to Matt Barnes, that number is around 85% of the basketball population.
Many people who play sports for fun like myself would be likely to say that consumption before a game made it much more easy to focus and get caught up in the moment of a big play. Many professional basketball players are using it for different purposes, like relieving the physical wear and tear on their bodies. It is a much safer and enjoyable alternative to alcohol, and that’s another primary reason for use among athletes. For Matt Barnes, he admitted to using it before games and that in his best games he had been under its influence. Being retired gives him the freedom to say these things, and it makes you wonder how many other guys are blazing before they arrive at the arena. It shouldn’t matter at all whether they decide to or not, as long as long as it’s not negatively affecting their performance. An athletes consistently demonstrated ability is what should determine their playing time on the floor, as long as their not abusing performance-enhancing drugs. Cannabis is not like traditional performance-enhancing drugs that boost muscle growth and are made in a lab. However, like any drug, it affects people differently and if some players indulged before a game, it could be a disaster. It should be the player’s judgment call, not the leagues on what substances to use. With marijuana legal in 8 states and medical marijuana legal in a majority of the rest, the prohibited status in the NBA is becoming more questionable. The actions of some of their players are sometimes 100 percent legal where they live or are traveling to. Use of alcohol and prescription pills remain allowed but are decreasing in popularity.
Using cannabis while strict testing and rules are in place, speaks volumes about how beneficial it is to those in the league. Some fans, as well as the sports media, will view a violation of marijuana rules as a big deal. More importantly, it will be viewed as unprofessional by the coaches and results in some serious consequences for repeated offenses. The first time a player is caught failing a test, they must simply complete a substance abuse course. After that though, they face hefty fines and larger game suspensions for each violation of the rule. It is also likely with the insane competition that a pretty good athlete can be lost about among all the other options who lack a marijuana record. The time has come for the NBA to catch up to the public’s opinion, as well as the laws being passed across the country that are legalizing and decriminalizing the plant. Studies have shown how opioid abuse has gone down in states that legalize medical or recreational marijuana and there’s no reason why the same thing wouldn’t happen within the league.
Since the new year has began, I personally have already had to switch dispensaries that I was using due to the new medical marijuana regulations coming into effect. Starting December 15th of last year, the state began accepting applications for the various types of businesses including: cultivation, processing, transportation, and retail shops. Retail dispensaries that were operating for years without any problems with local ordinances are now receiving letters ordering them to shut down until they are approved for a new license. According to the Detroit Free Press, over 200 dispensaries in the state have been sent these cease and desist letters.
While the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs claims that the availability of medicine will be unaffected for patients, there are other consequences to this move. Although profitable, opening a dispensary demands an enormous amount of overhead and variable costs. All of these business owners who had invested money in both their property as well as the medicine they had in stock, are going to lose patients during the temporary to permanent closure. This is not right, and if they didn’t want them operating they shouldn’t have ever been given permission. Yes they technically were unregulated businesses, but that was how the system had forced them to operate for years under the protection of local ordinances. Some of these businesses in the past had even gone the lengths of relocating in order to comply with the ridiculous zoning requirements imposed by the city of Detroit. Even playing by the rules doesn’t always guarantee protection of your business in this industry. This transition period of awarding licenses to applicants is supposed to end in June, but at it’s current pace many in the industry are expecting delays.
There are many different opinions on whether this regulation is a good thing for the cannabis community or not. The regulation establishes new taxes for those using it for medical purposes. It also will make a system to track a plants progress from seed form to sale and ensure all products are only produced by licensed commercial cultivators. Personally, I think regulation is not a good thing and it should be left to the already existing large community of cultivators who produce much higher quality cannabis on a small scale. The patient- caregiver system that was established in 2008 when medical cannabis passed in Michigan, is still the backbone of the industry. Dispensaries that are currently existing get their medicine from caregivers or patients, not some 3000 plant facility that machine trims commercial quality bud. It seems inevitable that with regulation small time grows will be undercut by those growing on a large scale.
The dispensary that I choose to visit now for my concentrate and edible needs, is much larger then other collectives I had been a member at. The inventory selection is much larger as well as a higher number of employees working. Larger dispensaries seems to be the trend as the number of operating dispensaries continues to be squeezed by the state government. To this day it remains a risky business plan to enter the “not quite regulated” medical marijuana industry in Michigan. For those looking to get into the trade, it would be best to apply for one of the new licenses and then wait before trying to set up shop during this uncertain time.
Sports have been an interest of mine my entire life. Mostly as a result of being encouraged to stay active from a young age. Competing athletically has always been very enjoyable for me and I was a part of numerous sports teams throughout high school including baseball, cross country, and basketball. Taking sports seriously and putting hours in every day to improve your skills is awesome and rewarding, but at the same time it can be too time consuming. Once high school ended, I gave up my athletic career to study business management and begin working to cover my financial responsibilities. It wasn’t until I was working my way through college I discovered disc golf, and I couldn’t believe I had never paid any attention to it before.
I was introduced from a coworker who had constantly been talking about how he recently got into frisbee golf and how it’s pretty much the most chill sport ever. The laid back pace was compared to regular golf but he said it’s superior because it requires much less patience and skill while being nearly as rewarding. He offered that we hit up one of the local courses sometime so I could see what it was all about. I didn’t have my own disc set at the time, so I took responsibility of supplying the weed for the day instead.
It didn’t take more then a few holes to get in a groove and expand my range with the disc. Everybody has played frisbee at some point in there life but the discs for disc golf are much smaller in diameter and heavier then traditional frisbees. After adjusting to the learning curve, I became addicted to the sport rather quickly. It’s just the perfect sport for smoking because it’s slow paced and there isn’t any running or strenuous activity, only some walking. In addition, most courses are secluded in the woods and are perfect for lighting up without drawing a bunch of attention. These courses were built with smokers in mind! Although you shouldn’t really have to hide your marijuana use from all the other stoners that are on the course doing the same thing.
I believe that playing disc golf is so enjoyable for me personally because it combines 3 of my favorite things in life into one activity. Being out in nature, smoking weed, and competing with friends are usually all separate activities. But to be able experience them all in one great activity is always something to look forward to. There is just this certain peaceful vibe that you can’t get out on the court or baseball diamond. It’s the simplicity of taking turns throwing a disc into the chained basket. There are no complex rules or thinking required, it’s just all throwing technique. When you have to focus on a million things, using marijuana isn’t always the best route. However with disc golf it’s the opposite and you might even find yourself forgetting the score. Nowadays I probably play disc golf more than I do any other sport. I never thought that being a part of the cannabis culture would result in me discovering a new favorite activity. It’s just one of the million things that I’ve realized go hand in hand with cannabis.
There is more than one reason why I believe this question should be addressed. However, there is one significant factor that led to the writing of this article. That would be the legalization of cannabis in the state of California. This means an additional 40 million people will be subject to different laws then the rest of us living in the same country. There is far more momentum from this passage then the 4 states before them. I really believe it’s going to be hard to ignore the countries most populous state make it clear we need reform in our laws. On top of that, at the same time Nevada, Massachusetts. and Maine all legalized it in similar manners that allowed the sale of it in many forms. That means 8 states allow at least possession of personal amounts and recreational shops to open in the states. Tax revenue will be collected from each one of these states although that will take a year or longer in the states that passed laws this past November.
All these positive changes that have taken place recently are still facing the same old powerful opponents that stand to lose tons of money if marijuana is allowed to be used and sold. I think it’s very clear that we will win as more and more people become aware of why exactly marijuana was even made illegal and how wrong it is to continue this war. It’s more of a matter of when this will happen. The DEA are dragging there feet harder then ever and have refused to even reschedule the drug to a lower category in their nonsense hierarchy of drugs. They do not want to lose their easiest target and the largest source of their funding and arrests. There really isn’t as much of a drug problem once you remove marijuana because that’s the key component to all their operations and their way of justifying thousands of jobs. Taking this all into consideration I say the chances it becomes legal for all 50 states this year is not very good. I hate to not be optimistic but we are still erasing the stigma to this day that 80 years of prohibition has caused and it may take a little more then this year and a big state decision to change federal law. Once they start seeing all the tax revenue coming from California in the years to come they may change their thinking.
Starting out young as a kid I had always spent lots of time outdoors playing sports and visiting our cabin up north without many electronics. Thinking back, I didn’t always enjoy it and complained a lot about the lack of entertainment. This wasn’t to say I didn’t gain any happiness from exploring and being outside it just wasn’t as beautiful and important as I see it now. I did not smoke weed that young and purposely avoided it until the age of 16.
Once I realized how it enhances pretty much all the senses and that it makes things enjoyable, I found myself running on the cross country team and walking/hiking for recreation on my free time. The outdoors seemed connected and alive and just more beautiful. Even when I wasn’t under the influence, the experience and appreciation for nature stayed in the forefront of my mind. Outside when the weather permitted, became my preferred place to smoke. It brought peace when combined with the high which made it very stress relieving. I also wouldn’t have to worry about parents or people who would react negatively to the use of it.
Cannabis is considered a mild psychedelic even though it doesn’t feel that way. This does make sense to me because psychedelics are known to bring the user to a deeper connection to nature among other things. Even though there are no hallucinations or out of body experiences with weed, there is something that makes me love being in nature. There could be an activity involved or not, it will be just as enjoyable for me. Especially when there is such little regard for the environment in this world when compared to profits, it makes me appreciate what is left that much more. Weed really helped me slow down and take in the world instead of just focusing on whatever priorities or problems I’m facing.
I would like to start by explaining where the love and interest of the cannabis plant stems from and why sharing/spreading information is so important.
Like many others, in my teenage years I was told by people and held the common belief that drugs are dangerous and held very little information about differences and side effects of both legal and illegal drugs. When it came to marijuana, I wouldn’t have known what it was if I smelt it from the other room or even saw it. I held the belief that your stupid if you smoke it and that it’s right up there with the other hard drugs. It wasn’t until I started having discussions with friends at school who had actually tried it and were familiar with the potential side effects, benefits, and dangers. These were people I viewed as intelligent in general and definitely had more knowledge on the subject of weed. The more I talked about it with them the more I became interested and did a small amount of research before experiencing with it.
My first experience with cannabis turned me on to it big time. There was no other experience in my life where everything was enhanced in a way that made it so easy to enjoy and appreciate. Music was something that I had considered myself passionate about but after that day it was a whole different story. The only way to describe it is being able to take in every musical note and focus with such clarity without any distraction. This experience was clearly 1oo% recreational and enjoyable but I still knew little about it’s benefits to both healthy and especially sick people.
This changed when I saw videos and information everywhere of people experiencing a complete turnaround in their health from using cannabis. The list of diseases that it either treats or heals is too long to list. The number of medications it could replace is staggering and the number of side effects it could eliminate is even higher. I watched a man with violent seizures stop them seconds after using medical marijuana in its natural form. It reduces the number of these episodes dramatically and with continued treatment has even stopped them. This is just one serious aliment and yet it’s been illegal for a period of over 70 years for both sick and recreational users.
The moment I realized I needed to do something for the cause was after I watched my aunt battle cancer in its late stages. Her appetite was gone and she was in way too much pain to do anything. The chemo therapy made her nauseous even though she wasn’t eating. I finally got her to try a cannabis edible and she managed to get some of it down through our help. Within 30 minutes she told me all the pain was gone and it was wonderful. She could feel the breeze through the window and actually ate a small meal. This changed my life forever and I knew that there was true potential in this demonized plant. Not long after that she passed, but I know this relief can help others and be used in time to give these suffering people the quality of life they deserve.
All of these events in my life made me want to write about this plant and the people who use it. Whether that be legislation or just interesting information, the goal is that someone learns about and maybe even personally benefits from this medicine. If this underrated medicine interests you and you’d like to read and discuss about it then follow my blog and share your thoughts!