Nevada State Athletic Commission Delivers a Knockout Blow Against Cannabis Testing

On the heels of the nonsensical suspension of future Olympic medalist Sha’Carri Richardson (gonna go ahead and put that out in the universe), the Nevada State Athletic Commission got on the right side of history by ending any punishment for out-of-competition cannabis use by boxers and mixed martial artists. Technically, the regulatory body is still going to test for cannabis for six months for data collection purposes and still prohibits athletes from being under the influence while competing, but for all intents and purposes, they have rightfully swept Reefer Madness-inspired rules into the dustbin of history. With the Florida State Boxing Commission already making this move in May, California and New York barely punishing fighters for cannabis, and Las Vegas hosting a majority of the biggest fighting events in the U.S., combat sports have effectively moved past prohibition.

ESPN covered Nevada’s move:

“‘We should always be at the forefront of these issues,’ NSAC chairman Stephen J. Cloobeck said. ‘I believe it’s warranted and merited since it is legal in this state. … I think we need to jump forward, being the leader as we’ve always been.’


“The commission was given the leeway to make the decision to not discipline for marijuana via a memo from Nevada Senior Deputy Attorney General Edward Magaw, who was at the meeting. Magaw said that the vote will represent a change in policy immediately and will later be reflected in the commission’s written regulations.”


Marijuana in sports has been in the news lately. Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was suspended for a month by the USADA for a positive marijuana test and was rendered ineligible to compete in the Olympics in her signature event, the 100 meters.

With the immense support that Sha’Carri Richardson has received, I fully expect that by the 2024 Olympics, the biggest international athletic competition will have join the fighting world, the NBA, and the NFL with sensible cannabis policies, but it’s up to us to keep the pressure on. Myself, I won’t be watching track and field competitions this year in solidarity with Richardson, who should be challenging for a gold medal this year, instead of waiting a few more years. Thank you, Nevada regulators, policymakers, advocates, and voters, that made this move possible. Step by step, punch by punch, freedom and common sense are on the march.

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