The Olympics are Going to Pot

Micheal Phelps at the end of a pool lane with a bong in hand as the controversy of athletic use of marijuana use plagues the olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has set drug testing standards in international competition since 1999, has amended its definition of a “positive” test for cannabis, raising the limit from 15ng/mL to 150ng/mL. The new limit will have the effect of clearing any Olympic athletes of impermissible cannabis use except for those who are under its influence while competing.

The move signals a significant shift away from the former “zero-tolerance” policy rooted in moral disapproval, when drug warriors insisted that any cannabis use at all violated “the spirit of the game” or “sent the wrong message to kids,” to a policy more similar to those governing the use of alcohol.

Authorities deny that the move was motivated by any perception of cannabis as a performance-enhancing drug, despite evidence that it could be used for such a purpose (see Cannabis Now, Issue 6: “Does Cannabis Give a Competitive Edge?”). Rather, as explained by Dr. Matt Fedoruk, director of the US’s sister agency to WADA, the concern is safety: no one wants, for example, a bobsled team going down an icy tube at high speed if the lead driver is intoxicated.

Bottom line: come the 2014 Winter Games, some hardworking athletes may finally be allowed to take a well-earned toke.

Jeremy Daw is a contributor of Cannabis Now Magazine and the author of Weed the People: From Founding Fiber to Forbidden Fruit. After studying English Literature at the University of Texas, philosophy at NYU, and law at Harvard, he embarked on a career of writing about his favorite plant. As an expert in the law, history, and politics surrounding cannabis sativa L., Jeremy provides exceptional insight and analysis for

1 Comment

  1. michael allen

    July 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I know Illinois medical marijuana passed in the house of representatives and the senate doesn’t reconvene until September and i was assured that it would be legalized for chronic pain sufferers like myself especially being a paraplegic since 1987 and been through all the harmful long term side effects from FDA approved drugs just to have the state blame it on alcohol when i don’t
    drink alcohol…So they tell me it will be Jan 2014 but if not i gotta move from here im getting too old and the weather effects my spine badly and all i seem to get now is hydrocodone after years of being on duragesic,Oxycontin,mscontin,and methadose,Obama really screwed everyone on medicare by having us submit to drug tests and taking away all of our narcotics just because we had THC in our systems…..

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