Karl-Anthony Towns Advocates for NBA to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2017

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns celebrates a three-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Miami. Towns scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves as they defeated the Heat 125-122 in overtime. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns said Tuesday that he believes the NBA should consider taking marijuana off its banned substance list.

In an interview with ESPN.com's Nick Friedell, Towns backed former NBA Commissioner David Stern's stance on the issue:

"I agree with David Stern with marijuana. You don't have to actually 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 [Commissioner] Adam Silver has to 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."

In an October interview for Uninterrupted (h/t NBA.com), Stern expressed his belief that players should be allowed to smoke marijuana if it is legal in their state.

Towns said in Tuesday's interview that his perspective on marijuana comes from working with autistic children and seeing that properties of marijuana could help them function better in everyday life.

While the 21-year-old big man said he has never smoked marijuana, he believes using it could be positive for some players, provided it is done in moderation:

"I think in the right context it would be beneficial. Obviously, everything in moderation. We don't have a Tylenol bottle and take six of them. You take what's directed to help you feel better. We have an amazing drug program for our questions, and we have great backing by the association who does so much research, and they do so much great work with that. Whether it's not legal, whether it's legal, they always do a great job of making sure that they give the players every chance to be healthy."

Per Tim Strombel of Cashinbis.com, the NBA has a four-step system to punish those who test positive for marijuana.

The first offense requires completion of substance abuse treatment, the second is a $25,000 fine, the third is a five-game suspension and the fourth is a 10-game suspension.

Every subsequent positive test after the fourth infraction adds five games to the suspension.