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NCAA Relaxes Marijuana Thresholds; Reduces Penalties

The NCAA announced Friday it will relax its marijuana policies —raising the THC thresholds and reducing punishments


The NCAA announced Friday that it would be relaxing its marijuana policies, raisingTHC threshold levels and reducing punishments, reports Axios.

Under current NCAA policy, one failed marijuana test gets a six-monthsuspension, according to The Athletic‘s Chris Vannini.

The NCAA will raise the threshold for THC from 35 to 150 nanograms per milliliter. This change brings them in line with new World Anti-Doping Agency standards.

No Punishment For First Positive Test

There is no punishment or loss of eligibility for the first positive test, if the school “provides a management plan and education” for the athlete. 

For the second positive test, there could still be no punishment if they are compliant with the management plan. If they are not, an athlete would miss 25% of their games. 

For the third test, there could still be no punishment if the athlete still complies with a management plan. If not, they will miss 50% of the games.

This rule will only apply to NCAA events, such as the basketball tournament. The schools themselves run regular season events — so they will enforce their own rules.

“Consistent With Feedback From Membership”

“Reconsidering the NCAA approach to cannabis testing and management is consistent with feedback from membership on how to better support and educate student-athletes in a society with rapidly evolving public health and cultural views regarding cannabis use,” said Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer.

“The updated cannabis testing policies create a clear pathway for student-athletes to participate in education and management programs specific to their needs at the campus level,” agreed Stephanie Chu, the chair of the Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports committee. 

Now, the recommendations need to be separately adopted under legislation by each of the three divisions in college sports to officially become part of NCAA rules.

Change Follows Similar World Anti-Doping Agency Rule

The NCAA’s changes come after the World Anti-Doping Agency said it would review its rules regarding marijuana in September 2021, reports Yahoo Sports.

States across the US have legalized Cannabis for adult or medical use, and others have decriminalized its possession.

Marijuana is legal for adult use in 20 states and territories. There are only 11 states left where marijuana is either completely illegal or confined to CBD-only products.

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