The World Anti-Doping Agency has changed its rules on marijuana testing, raising the threshold for a positive test far higher in order to only catch those smoking pot during competition, not in between competitions. It’s a good start, but still not far enough:
WADA recently amended its rules on cannabis, raising the threshold for a positive test from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 150 ng/ml. In 1998 at the Nagano Games, Rebagliati recorded a level of 17.8 ng/ml, and argued the test resulted from second-hand smoke, which he still says. Ben Nichols, a spokesperson for WADA, said the raising of the threshold is meant to catch only athletes who smoke during the period of a competition. The drug isn’t prohibited out of competition.
“Our information suggests that many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption,” Nichols said. “The new threshold level is an attempt to ensure that in-competition use is detected and not use during the days and weeks before competition.”
Raising the threshold level to 150 nanograms per milliliter means that an athlete would have to be a “pretty dedicated cannabis consumer” to test positive, according to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
But why bother testing for it at all? It’s not a performance-enhancing drug, not unless first prize is a box of Twinkies. The only reason it’s even an issue is because of anti-drug hysteria that treats all substances alike. Michael Phelps smoked — in all likelihood smokes — pot. It did not help him win more than 20 medals, of course, but it didn’t hurt him either. It should be completely irrelevant to WADA, the IOC and everyone else as well.