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NCAA Removes Cannabis From Banned Drugs List For Division 1 Championships

Cannabis products will no longer be among the list of banned drugs for college football’s postseason and all Division I championships, reports the Washington Post.

In a vote on Tuesday, the NCAA’s Division 1 Council decided it will not test Division 1 athletes for cannabinoids ahead of championship competition.

Any penalties currently being served by student-athletes who previously tested positive for cannabinoids will be discontinued.

“The NCAA drug testing program is intended to focus on integrity of competition, and cannabis products do not provide a competitive advantage,” said Josh Whitman, chair of NCAA’s Division I Council and the athletic director at the University of Illinois. “The council’s focus is on policies centered on student-athlete health and well-being rather than punishment for cannabis use.”

Colleges follow their own drug testing policies during the regular season, but in the postseason, the NCAA’s standards and policies are applied.

The NCAA said cannabinoids will now be addressed in the same manner as other non-performance enhancing drugs such as alcohol. NCAA members will focus on harm-reduction strategies dealing with problematic cannabis use, centering on the health of student-athletes.

The decision by the Division 1 Council follows a recommendation by the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports that each of NCAA’s three member divisions remove cannabanoids from the banned substance list.

“We know that the previous cannabinoid policies and sanctions were not an effective deterrent to cannabinoid use,” Deena Casiero, the vice chair of the committee and head team physician at UConn said last fall. “We should be focusing on student-athletes who have or are at risk for cannabis use disorder.”

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