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NBA Players Push League To Allow Medical Marijuana

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The union that represents professional basketball players thinks they should be able to use medical marijuana without being punished for it by the NBA.

“My own view is that there are substantial signs that support its efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management,” National Basketball Players Association (NPBA) Executive Director Michele Roberts said in an interview SB Nation published on Monday. “We’re in talks with the league to see where we can go with it.”

While Roberts is optimistic that public policies and league rules on cannabis will eventually be changed, she worries that the anti-legalization position taken by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions complicates things.

“The obvious future is that marijuana will be decriminalized probably throughout the country in short order,” she said. “It is a banned substance in our league right now. If we do go down that road, we have to protect our players from — my words — a crazed attorney general who says he will prosecute violations of the law involving marijuana and he doesn’t care what individual states say. In other words, I don’t want my guys being arrested at airports in possession of a cannabinoid by some Fed.”

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern endorsed removing league penalties for players’ cannabis use last year.

“I’m now at the point where personally I think it should be removed from the banned list,” he said.

Roberts said that after the video of Stern’s comments came out, she “got some phone calls and we began discussions internally with our players and to some extent with the league to at least look at it.”

Current Commissioner Adam Silver is open to considering a change.

“I would say it’s something we will look at. I’m very interested in the science when it comes to medical marijuana,” he said recently. “My personal view is that it should be regulated in the same way that other medications are if the plan is to use it for pain management. And it’s something that needs to be discussed with our Players Association, but to the extent that science demonstrates that there are effective uses for medical reasons, we’ll be open to it.”

In a separate interview with The Undefeated last week, Roberts said there “has been a lot of buzz from the start of the year about medical marijuana,” and “a lot of players are interested in knowing what that is all about, so we will have some conversations about that.”

She also revealed that the players’ union is examining “independent research” on cannabis’s medical uses.

“I have certainly taken a look at what the current scientists are saying about this. And we are looking to have conversations with the league,” she said. “The thought is that we don’t have the same pain management issues as football does. It is true because their injuries are much more significant. But we do have pain issues.”

Roberts believes, based on reviewing data about cannabis, that it can help basketball players deal with injuries related to the sport.

“I go to meetings, and I’ve gotten used to it now, but eight of the guys will come into the meetings wearing ice on their knees,” she said. “I couldn’t stand that for 12 seconds. But they need to do that to be able to walk. Joint issues. Running up and down the court. The cardiovascular nature of the game. Jumping. Pain is an issue in the game. It’s a matter of allowing guys to use what science to me is suggesting is effective.”

But she didn’t reveal how close the league might be to agreeing to policy changes.

“We’re exploring it,” she said. “I think there is some movement toward accepting it as an appropriate use to address pain. But we’re not there yet.”

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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Willie Nelson Wants To Smoke Marijuana With Trump And Putin

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Everyone’s favorite country singer and legendary stoner Willie Nelson says he’d be glad to smoke weed with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.

The Red Headed Stranger made the revelations in an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert this week. The host showed Nelson celebrity photos in a rapid-fire fashion and the singer had to say if he’d toke up with them or not.

Nelson doesn’t say no to consuming cannabis with a single person, including the former and current presidents. When shown a picture of Putin, Colbert asks if it would help international relations if Nelson shared a joint with him, to which he replies, “There’s several people I’d like to see take a hit, so to speak.”

When a picture of Donald Trump immediately follows, Nelson says, “Oh yeah. He needs one bad. That could be good for him.”

And capping off the round is a photo of former president Barack Obama. Nelson laughs and says, “Yeah, I think he may have already been there a time or two.” Now that he’s out of office, wouldn’t we all love to see the former Choom Gang leader go for a session in Willie’s bus?

Absent from the lineup of celebrities was Colbert himself. Is the beard the real clue we need to know The Late Show host is jumping on the pot bandwagon?

Colbert left his desk and studio audience to speak to the singer from the inside of Nelson’s famous bus, which wasn’t (at the time) full of marijuana smoke. After asking about the bus’s name and joking about other people with named vehicles, like Batman or The Pope, Colbert complimented the smell of the “air freshener” inside the bus, saying it was “relaxing.”

“Is that lavender? Is that one of the flavors?” he joked, to which Nelson laughed and replied, “If it’s not, it will be. The Colbert Lavender. We’ll have it,” most likely referring to his marijuana company Willie’s Reserve.

Colbert asks about the history of Nelson’s iconic braids, and then the conversation moves to his support for Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from Texas. O’Rourke, as Marijuana Moment has previously reported, wants to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and create a legal, regulated system. Colbert brings up the recently viral photo of Nelson wearing a “Beto For Texas” shirt while giving the camera his upright middle finger, a la Johnny Cash.

The pair go on to cover Nelson’s latest album, My Way, which is all Frank Sinatra covers. Colbert plays an old ad for the Space Foundation featuring Ol’ Blue Eyes himself and Nelson joking around.

Nelson relays a story about an astronaut recently visiting the bus and telling the country legend, “You’re the only I know that’s been higher than me.” Maybe Nelson is working his way to a smoke session with Elon Musk.

It’s not Colbert’s funniest segment, but not without some laughs—and certainly respecting, and playing to, Nelson’s famous relationship with the plant.

Watch the full interview below:

Photo courtesy of CBS.

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Marijuana Looks Like An Alien World Under An Electron Microscope

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Have you ever seen marijuana?

No, have you ever seen it up close? Like, really up close?

Ted Kinsman has, and you won’t believe his photos.

When viewed under an electron microscope, cannabis looks like an alien world.

“I like to think it’s what a person would see if they were just a few microns tall, walking through these forests,” Kinsman told Tech Insider in an interview published on Friday.

He included many of his pictures, which are artificially colorized, in his book, “Cannabis: Marijuana Under The Microscope,” which was published in May.

Kinsman, who is a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has also photographed psilocybin mushroom spores, bedbugs, spiders and even human brain cells.

Take a look at more photos and learn about Kinsman’s techniques in the Tech Insider video below:

Photo courtesy of Ted Kinsman // Tech Insider.

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Amsterdam’s Marijuana Strategy Means Cops Don’t Have Much To Do, Comedy Central Finds

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There aren’t very many cities in the world where the police will politely wait for you to smoke a joint and then rejoin them while walking the streets, but Amsterdam isn’t like many other cities.

Comedy Central’s Jim Jeffries took his show to the Netherlands this week for an installment of “Jim’s A Cop.” In the hilarious segment, he rides and walks with two members of the city’s police force while cracking jokes and poorly singing the COPS theme song for hours—all while getting exactly zero calls about active crimes.

Jeffries and the cops discuss the absurdly low crime rate in the city as well as one officer’s love for the TV show Dexter. They pass through the famous Red Light District where Jeffries asks, “Why is everyone waving at us?” The cop replies, “They like us.”

Jeffries asks if marijuana is legal to which both officers reply, “No.” They go on to explain that the coffeeshops operate under what the Dutch call gedoogbeleid, which translates to a “policy of tolerance.” It’s this tolerance of drug use that contributes to Amsterdam’s low crime rate—as well as Holland’s moves to close prisons “because the country is so safe,” Jeffries says.

The Comedy Central host mentions that, in contrast, the War on Drugs here in the U.S. has contributed to violence and a mass incarceration rate that’s the highest in the world.

As Marijuana Moment previously reported, studies have shown legalizing marijuana can free up police time to solve other crimes. It’s becoming more obvious that acceptance and legalization of cannabis use makes cities safer.

Watch the clip below:

Legalizing Marijuana Helps Police Solve Other Crimes, New Study Shows

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