- The NCAA medical committee wants to stop drug testing student-athletes for marijuana.
- The committee said the NCAA should focus drug testing on performance-enhancing drugs.
- The recommendation comes as professional athlete organizations rethink how to address cannabis use.
The NCAA medical committee recommended removing marijuana from the list of drugs players are not allowed to take, suggesting that athletes should only be tested for performance-enhancing drugs.
The committee said in a statement that it will “gather input” from member organizations over the summer and it expects there will be “final action” on the issue by this fall.
In order for cannabis to be removed from the list of drugs that athletes must adhere to, each of the NCAA’s three governing bodies will have to create and adopt legislation to do so, the statement says.
The committee said it based it’s opinion on the 2022 Summit on Cannabinoids in College Athletics — an event held to learn more about cannabis research and policy — and the consensus opinion that “cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug and that a harm reduction approach to cannabis is best implemented at the school level.”
The committee’s proposed ideas also included shifting focus to testing for drugs that enhance athletic performance and educating students on the health risks of “contemporary cannabis and methods of use.”
The recommendation comes as other professional athletic organizations grapple with the decriminalization of marijuana in the US and reexamine how to approach athletes who use it.
In April, the NBA reached a tentative agreement with the NBA Players Association, which included a stipulation that players will not longer be tested for or penalized for using marijuana, The Athletic reported.
Previously, the NBA’s policy for marijuana use forced players to enter a treatment program after the first offense, fined them $25,000 for the second violation, and suspended them for five games after the third violation, according to Forbes.
Former NBA veteran Al Harrington told GQ in 2021 that he thinks 85% of players in the league either smoke marijuana or use “some form of cannabis.”
“It’s a safe and alternative way to deal with shit,” Harrington told the outlet. “Yes, we are supermen. We do make a lot of money. But we have a lot of stress and shit on our plate. Constantly. So what is our vice?”
Former LSU track standout, Sha’carri Richardson tested positive for THC metabolites — which are found in marijuana — before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Richardson was subsequently not allowed to compete.
Richardson said she smoked marijuana to cope with the pressure of being on her sport’s biggest stage and the death of her mother who had recently died.
When asked if he thought Richardson’s suspension was fair, President Joe Biden told CBS that everyone “knows what the rules were going in.”
“Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue,” Biden said.