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Karl-Anthony Towns advocates benefits of medicinal marijuana

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Life experience guiding Towns' views on medical marijuana (1:14)

Karl-Anthony Towns opens up about witnessing the benefits medical marijuana can have on children with autism. (1:14)

PHOENIX -- Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns believes the NBA should allow players to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The topic recently came up with the young star during a wide-ranging Q&A with ESPN. In it, Towns was asked what one change he would make if he were commissioner Adam Silver.

"I agree with David Stern with marijuana," Towns told ESPN. "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 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."

Towns' comments echoed those of former NBA commissioner David Stern, who recently told former NBA player and marijuana entrepreneur/advocate Al Harrington during a documentary on Uninterrupted that he would remove marijuana from the banned substance list.

For Towns, the topic of medicinal marijuana is personal. His girlfriend's nephew is autistic, and Towns has seen how some of the new treatments involving properties of marijuana have helped the young boy and his family deal with the condition.

"I've seen nothing but benefits for him," Towns said. "And I'm very happy that he finds comfort. He finds that normalcy every day. Just like a father, a mother, a parent with a child, you'd do anything for your child."

"These guys, just because we're NBA athletes, we're not superhumans. Some of us have conditions that could use [medicinal marijuana] to our benefit for everyday living, just taking care of our kids and our families."

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

Towns, who says he has done some research on the benefits of medicinal marijuana, says the topic is talked about around the league.

"I think it's discussed," Towns said. "But I look at it from my experience with it. I've never smoked. I've never taken a strand. I've never taken properties of it, whatever the case may be. But I deal with kids all the time at autistic schools, Reed Academy in New Jersey. My girlfriend has an autistic nephew, and you realize those properties of marijuana can do a lot of good for kids and for adults.

"These guys, just because we're NBA athletes, we're not superhumans. Some of us have conditions that could use [medicinal marijuana] to our benefit for everyday living, just taking care of our kids and our families."

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said last season on a CSN Bay Area podcast that he used marijuana twice to try to alleviate the chronic back pain he was dealing with. Although it didn't help him, he was hopeful that professional sports leagues would ease off some of their restrictions on the drug to potentially help other athletes who might be in pain.

Towns said he has not spoken with anyone within the league yet regarding his opinion on medicinal marijuana, but he doesn't rule out doing so in the future.

"We have such a great commissioner in Adam Silver who's willing to listen to opinions and talk to us about how he feels as well," Towns said. "I think David Stern obviously made an intellectual statement from his experience and just seeing things from a different perspective.

"The NBA has done a great job of just really cracking down on things that should not be legal. Not only legal as a performance enhancing, or whatever case it may be, but just for daily living to have a better life, a more sustainable life, a more healthy life by removing those drugs from the game."