Without a doubt, marijuana is one of the most controversial topics of the 21st century. As researchers continue to unearth more of its medicinal properties, the discussion for its legalization somehow grows murkier by the day. Now another multi-billion-dollar industry wants a seat at the table. No less than former NBA commissioner David Stern threw his support behind the complete legalization of medical marijuana for the benefit of the Association last month. Joining him is Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
The Dominican-American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves said in an ESPN interview that medical marijuana should be removed from the NBA’s banned substances list.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange between ESPN and the young center.
ESPN: If you’re commissioner Adam Silver and could make one change to the rules in the NBA, what would it be?
Towns: I agree with David Stern with marijuana. You don’t have to make it “Mary J” [or] “Half Baked.” You don’t have to do it like that, but you could use the [chemical] properties in it to make a lot of people better. That’s something that Adam Silver must do, that’s out of my control, but maybe legalizing marijuana. Not fully legal where people are chimneys but using [marijuana] as a beneficial factor as an athlete, as a person living daily. I think a lot of times fans forget that sometimes there may be some things that are banned that may not be the greatest for playing basketball, but for everyday living off the court, sometimes those things that are legal could help us.
ESPN: How much research have you been able to do about this topic?
Towns: I’ve done a little bit just because anything medical always intrigues me, just to see how the world is getting smarter about treating our bodies. There’s a lot of other conditions and diseases that can be helped by using those properties that are in medical marijuana to benefit people’s lives. I was talking to my mother yesterday about seeing studies about abnormalities in people’s bodies and doing surgeries to fix that, fix those conditions. My mom’s been working at Rutgers University medicine for 20-plus years. I love learning about different ways to take care of my body, so I’m always looking for ways that could help me be a better athlete and a better player. And make things just move smoother.
While it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing the NBA make such a move soon in favor of medical marijuana, it’s a positive development nonetheless to have players such as Towns speak out about the issue.