The NCAA is considering a significant change regarding its drug policies, as an NCAA panel recommends removing marijuana from the list of banned substances. The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports released a proposal on Friday, suggesting that testing should focus solely on performance-enhancing drugs.
This potential revision marks a departure from the NCAA’s current stance, which has included drug testing at championship events since 1986. While the committee members recommend suspending cannabis testing at these events until a final decision is reached, the actual implementation of this change would require the introduction and approval of legislation by all three NCAA divisions. Divisions II and III administrators had requested a thorough examination of the matter, leading to this recommendation.
The timing of this proposal coincides with the growing acceptance of medical and recreational marijuana use across several U.S. states. In response to the evolving landscape, the committee had already adjusted the THC threshold required for a positive test earlier this year, aligning it with the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The threshold was raised from 35 to 150 nanograms per milliliter.
The committee previously acknowledged in December that marijuana and its derivatives are not considered performance-enhancing substances. Rather than focusing on penalties for cannabis use, the panel emphasized the importance of policies that address potential risks associated with marijuana use and the necessity of reducing harm and cannabis product consumption. Additionally, the committee suggested that schools utilizing testing procedures should leverage the results to identify instances of problematic cannabis use. Furthermore, the committee proposed offering schools additional guidelines pertaining to cannabis.
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