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Is Pot a Performance-Enhancing Drug?

Athletes can be banned for marijuana use, but an Aussie sports coalition says it shouldn't count.

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Doping, with weed? Uhhh. Photo via

By Fionna Agomuoh

05/01/12

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Major sports organizations in Australia want marijuana off the list of performance-enhancing drugs. The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports—which oversees sports such as cricket, soccer, Australian Rules football, rugby league, rugby union and tennis—claims that marijuana is not on the same level as Human Growth Hormone, anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. The Coalition suggests that it should instead be considered an illicit substance. According to the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), marijuana is among the list of drugs that could have a player banned from their sport for two years if its found in their system. But head of the Coalition, Malcolm Speed, argues that marijuana is a different class of drug, and shouldn't carry as heavy of a sentence. "What's happening around the world is that the two year bans aren't being applied because marijuana, cannabis, is seen as being in a different category of substances, so it's inconsistent it's anomalous," he says. "It's not performance enhancing so I think we are well and truly entitled to raise it with WADA and argue that it be taken away from the list." Statistics released by the Australian Football League show that only one of its players tested positive for marijuana in 2010.

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