Top 5 NBA players suspended for Marijuana use
The NBA ended its ban on marijuana after signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the NBPA this offseason. Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns was one of the biggest advocates for weed use in the league and helped NBA Commissioner Adam Silver understand it.
"I actually called him and advocated for him to take marijuana off the banned substance list," Durant said on CNBC's Game Plan conference back in July. "I just thought it was becoming a thing around the country and around the world, and that the stigma behind it wasn't as negative as it was before. It doesn't affect you in any negative way."
5 NBA players suspended for marijuana use since 2013
There has been a handful of players who were suspended for the use of marijuana. As mentioned earlier, J.R. Smith was suspended for five games in 2013 during his time with the New York Knicks.
Monta Ellis and Reggie Bullock were simultaneously suspended for five games each in the 2017 offseason. Ellis was still with the Indiana Pacers back then while Bullock was a member of the Detroit Pistons. Both players tested positive for weed for the third time, resulting in their suspension without pay.
On that note, let's take a look at the remaining five NBA players who were suspended because of weed. It should be noted that these players were ranked according to length of suspension.
#5 Larry Sanders
Larry Sanders was suspended for 10 games midway through the 2014-15 NBA season. Sanders was already suspended for five games back in April 2014 for his first violation of the league's anti-drug policy. The Milwaukee Bucks bought out his contract and Sanders entered a program to help the state of his mental health.
Sanders returned to the league in 2017 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His second stint in the NBA did not last but he became an entrepreneur involved in music and fashion. He also played for the 3 Headed Monsters in Ice Cube's BIG3 League during its 2019 season.
#4 Dion Waiters
Dion Waiters was suspended for 10 games by the Miami Heat during the 2018-19 NBA season for "conduct detrimental to the team." Waiters got high on marijuana edibles and had a panic attack on a team flight. He admitted on The Player's Tribune that what he did back then was idiotic.
"The plane incident in Miami? It's on me," Waiters wrote. "I own that. It was idiotic on my behalf — point-blank, period. What's crazy is, my whole life I been a leader. I'm not a follower."
#3 Malik Beasley
Malik Beasley made headlines in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when he was arrested for marijuana possession, concealing stolen property and brandishing a firearm. Beasley was sentenced to 120 days in jail, eventually serving 78 days during the 2021 offseason.
The NBA suspended him for 12 games due to his arrest. Beasley did not test positive for marijuana but his arrest was weed-related so he was probably using before he was brought into police custody.
#2 Mitch McGary
Some may not remember Mitch McGary, but he was known for his marijuana use even before he made it to the NBA. McGary was facing a one-year suspension by the NCAA after testing positive for weed in 2014 so he declared for the draft. He was selected 21st overall by the OKC Thunder.
McGary did not have any marijuana-related suspensions in his first two years in the league. However, he was given a five-game suspension by the NBA ahead of the 2016-17 season for failing a drug test in the offseason. Another 10 games were added when he tested positive for weed again a few months later but the Thunder waived him before that season started.
#1 O.J. Mayo
O.J. Mayo was banned from the NBA on July 1, 2016, for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He tested positive for marijuana but officials also found out that he was abusing painkillers. He became eligible for reinstatement in 2018 but has not made the move to return.
Mayo resumed his basketball career overseas, playing in countries such as Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Japan, Russia and Egypt. He last played for Zamalek on the Egyptian Basketball Super League.