NCAA Signals Support For Removing Cannabis From Banned Substance List

The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) signaled its support for removing cannabis from the Association’s banned substances list and testing protocols.

For cannabis to be removed from the list, each of the three divisional governance bodies of the NCAA needs to introduce and adopt legislation, noted an NCAA press release on Friday.

The committee will also seek support from the NCAA Board of Governors to stop testing for cannabis at NCAA championship events while legislative action is considered.

Not A Performance-Enhancing Drug

Following an NCAA decision to adopt more lenient cannabis policies in February 2022, the rationale for considering the change was largely informed by the December 2022 Summit on Cannabinoids in College Athletics and includes the consensus opinion that cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug and that a harm reduction approach to cannabis is best implemented at the college level.

After all, the NBA is no longer testing its players for cannabis as part of a deal between the league and the National Basketball Players Association.

Major League Baseball stopped testing players for cannabis several years ago. They did however add synthetic cannabinoids, cocaine, opioids and fentanyl to the list of prohibited drugs that they test for.

In addition to the policy and testing changes, CSMAS also signaled its support for the development of a comprehensive communication and education campaign that provides guidance to the membership about cannabis. 

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