When it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, the World Anti-Doping Agency has a hard line: keep it clean.
And like a growing surge of people across the world, they understand that marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug and that a few recreational (or medical) puffs of ganja when not in competition aren’t going to harm anyone.
The agency – which started in 1999 – is huge, and covers the international level of just about every sport you can imagine from well known sports like hockey and soccer to oddball endeavors like korfball and pelota. They set the rules that the International Olympic Committee follows and even mixed martial arts organizations have adopted the WADA standards.
The WADA new threshold is 150 nanograms per milliliter of blood of THC carboxy, the metabolite of THC that can stay in your fatty tissue for up to a month after use.
The decision was made at at a Word Anti Doping Agency executive committee meeting May 11 and all blood samples dated then on will be subject to the new guidelines. It also advises its member sporting associations to not go after current cases that would fall under the new guidelines, “as a matter of fairness and to provide consistency.”
While not outright allowing cannabis use, the new threshold means athletes could take a few puffs of chronic weeks out from competition and fall under the allowable limit by the time of their match, game, race, fight, etc. Anyone who puffs up until their event will still be busted and likely face sanctions.
“We wanted to focus on the athletes that abuse the substance in competition,” Julie Masse, spokeswoman for the WADA told Golf Week. “This should exclude cases where marijuana is not used in competition.”
Why they still want to punish athletes for using cannabis is beyond us. In fact, it never really made all that much sense to the WADA in the first place. Richerd Pound, the initial president of the WADA, said in 2012 that the WADA original was not going include marijuana on the list but American sports groups pushed for it.
While the ruling is big for sports on the international level, it might not have much of an effect on sports the U.S. In the states, sports are governed by a web of state and national guidelines. For example, MMA fighter rules in Nevada can differ from ones in New York state. Meanwhile, athletes in the NFL follow a different set of rules set out by that organization.
The same is true for the governing bodies of sports in the U.S. reports that the PGA Tour has listed marijuana as a recreational drug and not a performance enhancing drug. The PGA still tests for weed, but players only face internal punishment and their use wouldn’t be made public.
Other sports won’t be affected by the WADA change at all. In college sports, for example, the current threshold set the National Collegiate Athletic Association is currently 5 nanograms – down from 15 nanograms a few years ago.
WADA afficials say the policy change was prompted after receiving “many submissions” from members. While we doubt that came from the high-falutin’ polo players, we’re guessing the push came more from the snowboarders, wakeboarders and possibly even a few swimmers. Or korballers could be notorious pot heads, for all we know.