With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana to the general public in Nevada, the state’s athletic commission decided that it was time to get ahead of the curve on what is sure to become a significant issue.
Nevada Athletic Commission chair Anthony Marnell on Friday proposed a regulatory project to study the circumstances around the legalization of cannabinoids in the state and what sort of effect it might have on the commission’s stance on it being a prohibited substance.
For the past three years or so, the commission has upheld a limit of 150 ng/mL before a fighter tests positive to marijuana and/or its metabolites (cannabinoids). As a recreational drug, that limit is only enforced in-competition, meaning on fight night.
With Nevada recently joining several other states in decriminalizing marijuana for recreational use, Marnell expects that there will be future issues as fighters come to terms with what is and what is not allowed, even though they are bound by athletic commission regulations, which are not superseded by state law.
What Marnell foresees is a fighter coming before the commission and challenging the 150 ng/mL limit because now, for all intents and purposes, Nevada sees marijuana in the same recreational space as alcohol.
“All I want to do is be out in front of it instead of behind it,” said Marnell. “You can see the controversy coming. And so I wanted to put it on board for discussion among my commissioners only.”
Also on the agenda at Friday’s meeting was the consideration of changes made by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports to the Unified Rules of MMA, including stricter guidelines on scoring.
The commission voted unanimously to develop a regulatory project on the two matters, which will include workshops for the commissioners to get more education on both topics and hopefully make a determination on each in either March or April of this year.