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Neil deGrasse Tyson Backs Legalizing Marijuana

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One of the most famous science communicators on the planet is adding his voice to the movement to legalize cannabis.

“If you really analyze it, relative to other things that are legal, there’s no reason for it to ever have been made illegal in the system of laws,” astrophysicist and TV host Neil deGrasse Tyson said in a recent interview. “Alcohol is legal and it can mess you up way more than smoking a few jays.”

 

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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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Bill Nye: Marijuana’s Federal Status ‘Not Based In Science’

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One of the world’s most famous scientists says that the U.S. government’s classification of marijuana has absolutely nothing to do with science.

“Nobody’s really sure how it works, marijuana. Nobody’s exactly sure what it does,” he said in a new interview released on Tuesday. “And so there’s a very strong argument that keeping it as a Schedule I drug is not based in any science.”

Schedule I — most restrictive category under federal law — is supposed to be reserved for drugs with a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

“But people use marijuana and marijuana extracts for all sorts of medical applications, so you’ve got to think there’s something to it,” Nye said.

Researchers have often complained that keeping marijuana in Schedule I perpetuates extra hurdles that studies on other drugs don’t need to overcome.

In the new season of “Bill Nye Saves the World,” premiering December 29 on Netflix, the scientist is seen getting a medical cannabis recommendation and visiting a California dispensary.

But Nye doesn’t consume marijuana on camera. He does, however, play ultimate frisbee with teammates who are under the influence of cannabis, he said in the new interview with CNET.

In a separate interview released last month, Nye touted the benefits of legalization.

“I lived in Washington State for a long time, and Washington State legalized it in 2012. We legalized marijuana, we tax it,” he said. “We have a lot of tax revenue. It’s no longer criminalized. We don’t spend money on the police department. We spend money regulating the industry in the same way we regulate other substances.”

Bill Nye Likes Legalization, But Not Marijuana

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

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Bill Nye Likes Legalization, But Not Marijuana

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The Science Guy is down with legalizing marijuana, but he doesn’t consume cannabis himself.

“I lived in Washington State for a long time, and Washington State legalized it in 2012. We legalized marijuana, we tax it,” Bill Nye said in a interview published this week by NowThis. “We have a lot of tax revenue. It’s no longer criminalized. We don’t spend money on the police department. We spend money regulating the industry in the same way we regulate other substances.”

But even though he recognizes legalization’s benefits, don’t mistake Nye for a cannabis connoisseur.

“I don’t like the smell. I just don’t like it,” he said. “One time in college I tried it, and I’m not good at smoking. I didn’t put in the hours to get good at smoking.”

In Nye’s eyes, marijuana use can have negative effects.

“When I played ultimate frisbee very seriously, these guys I would play with would get high and they sucked when they were high,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want the government to loosen its grip on cannabis.

“What’s happened with marijuana is it’s a Schedule I drug, which means it’s presumed to be addictive and it’s presumed to have no medical value. Yet people are using it for all these medical applications,” he said. “So well, let’s study it. Well, you’re not allowed to study it because it’s a Schedule I drug… So that has to be sorted out.”

In touting the benefits of legalization, the science guy is in alignment with the late Carl Sagan, under whom Nye studied astronomy at Cornell University.

Fellow Sagan protégé Neil deGrasse Tyson also recently endorsed legalization in response to a question from a Marijuana Moment journalist.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Backs Legalizing Marijuana

Featured image screengrab courtesy of NowThis.

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