Nevada State Athletic Commission eliminates penalties for marijuana use by fighters


The Nevada State Athletic Commission will no longer punish athletes for testing positive for marijuana metabolites in pre or post-fight drug tests. This ends a controversial policy that has long been criticized by fans, fighters and the media. The vote to amend the NSAC policy was unanimous.

Arguably the most high profile marijuana case in NSAC history came in 2015, when Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites after his bout with Anderson Silva. The positive test was Diaz’s second in the state, the first coming when he tested positive prior to an incredible gogoplata submission of Takanori Gomi. In the Gomi case, the fight was overturned to a no contest and Diaz was suspended six months.

After the Silva fight, however, NSAC officials took a much harsher stance, lashing out at Diaz and debating a lifetime ban before finally settling on a five-year suspension. The suspension was later reduced to 18 months in 2016. Diaz has not fought since the suspension.

The news of the NSAC’s changed policy comes in the wake of track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson’s positive test for marijuana at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Despite being the fastest woman in America, Richardson will now no longer be able to compete in the upcoming Olympics.

New NSAC chairman Stephen J. Cloobeck commented on the Richardson situation in the wake of Wednesday’s NSAC meeting, telling ESPN, “I wish other bodies like the Olympic committee would be as forward-thinking as we’ve shown here today in Nevada.”

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