NCAA Revises Cannabis Rules for College Athletes

NCAA Revises Cannabis Rules for College Athletes
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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently announced a change in its cannabis rules for college athletes that includes increasing the THC threshold for drug screening tests. At the meeting of the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) held on February 22 and 23, the NCAA’s standards for student athlete cannabinoid testing were aligned with those of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Under the new policy, the THC threshold has been increased from 35 to 150 nanograms per milliliter. The new level to trigger a failed drug test is effective immediately and is applicable to drug tests administered in fall 2021 or later. The governing body for all collegiate sports in the US noted that future changes to the THC threshold for student-athletes could be made in response to future changes initiated by WADA, which would be subject to the review and approval of the CSMAS. “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,” Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, said in a February 25 statement. “Marijuana is not considered a performance-enhancing substance, but it remains important for member schools to engage student-athletes regarding substance use prevention and provide management and support when appropriate.” The CSMAS also recommended that each division make changes to the penalty structure for student-athletes who test positive for THC in NCAA drug tests. Because drug testing penalties are legislated under NCAA bylaws, each division will be required to separately adopt the new rules before changes are made. Under the proposed new penalty structure, a first positive test for THC will not result in a loss of eligibility if the school provides…

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