By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor,

Pro athletes have been campaigning for years for the right to use of medical marijuana for pain management. Now, there’s one pro league that’s finally taking their arguments into consideration.

The BIG3, a professional three-on-three basketball league founded by rap legend/business tycoon Ice Cube, recently announced it will allow its players to use cannabidiol, also known as CBD (an ingredient found in marijuana) to treat pain, as well as for health recovery, effective immediately.

Ice Cube’s Big3 Basketball League recently announced players would be ableto use cannabidiol (CBD) for medical purposes. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

“The BIG3 is uniquely positioned in professional sports as a player-powered league that looks at our players as partners not property,” BIG3 co-founder and co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz said in a statement, according to ESPN. “As a testament to our relationship with our players, we listened to their feedback on CBD, as well as feedback from professionals in the regulatory and CBD industry, and decided to take this major step to support their health.”

The new policy made the BIG3 the first ever U.S. pro sports league to permit the use of the drug.

“Despite many states around the country making efforts to decriminalize or legalize cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally, professional athletes who could benefit medicinally are prevented from doing so by league outdated mandates,’’ the BIG3 said in a statement.

Cube’s league made it clear it supported the use of cannabis over the opioid-based drugs that most U.S. leagues approve for treatment.

“More than a dozen countries, including Canada and Israel, have approved CBD-based medications for both professional athletes and consumers,’’ the BIG3 statement continued.  “In the U.S., the shift is beginning to happen as the medication is not only used for pain management, but preferred over the powerfully addictive opioids and pain-relief drugs that are often the only other option.’’

BIG3’s announcement came just days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made Epidiolex—a drug that treats seizures caused from epilepsy, the first CBD-based drug to be federally approved. The World Anti-Doping Agency also recently removed CBD from its list of banned substances.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor