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Nevada commission to discuss removal of marijuana from banned list

Gallery Photo: UFC 158 Press Conference Photos
Nick Diaz was suspended by the Nevada commission for 18 months for failing a drug test for marijuana in 2015.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Call it the Diaz Rule.

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) will discuss Friday on whether or not to remove marijuana from its banned substance list, per the meeting agenda released on its website. Currently, cannabis and its metabolites are prohibited under NAC rules in competition over a threshold of 150 ng/ml.

A vote to legalize recreational marijuana (for people ages 21 and older, plus other restrictions) in the state of Nevada passed on Election Day in November. The NAC will vote on “the potential exclusion of cannabinoids from the list of Prohibited Substances and Methods pursuant to passage of Nevada Ballot Initiative Question 2 (2016),” according to the agenda.

Cannabis remains banned in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). USADA uses the WADA Code, so even if the NAC makes marijuana legal, UFC fighters can still be sanctioned for use of the drug — in competition — by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner. In competition according to WADA begins six hours before a fight and ends six hours after the fight.

The Nevada commission famously suspended UFC fighter Nick Diaz five years and fined him $165,000 after he tested positive for marijuana in January 2015. It was Diaz’s third failed drug test for marijuana in the state.

The sanctions received widespread criticism that extended to the mainstream media and even Hollywood. Diaz’s legal team and the NAC later came to a settlement, reducing Diaz’s suspension to 18 months and his fine to $100,000.

On Friday, the Nevada commission will also discuss the adoption of changes to the Unified Rules of MMA, which were passed by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) in August.

(Correction: The original story stated that the NAC will be voting on the removal of marijuana from its banned substance list. There will likely not be a vote Friday, but just a discussion about the topic.)

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