UK to Reduce Recreational Drug Penalties for Athletes

United Kingdom Anti-Doping has announced it will shorten bans for athletes who fail drug tests for non-performance enhancing drugs, including cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) is imposing shorter bans for athletes who fail out-of-competition drug tests for non-performance enhancing drugs, including cannabis and cocaine, saying it was to put an “emphasis on athlete welfare,” the BBC reports.

The details of the new policy are still being finalized but further penalty reduction would be available for athletes who complete a treatment program and promptly admit to their violation.

The new rules, which take effect in January, also allow for longer bans when there are “aggravating factors,” such as lying to investigators, hostility toward doping control officers, and when there are multiple violations.

The reforms come as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) reduces its ban for some recreational drugs to one to three months instead of two years.

UKAD Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead said the new rules reflect the WADA standards. In 2017, WADA removed CBD from its banned substances list but added synthetic cannabinoids such as “Spice.”

“The UK Anti-Doping rules are the backbone of our mission to keep sport clean. … We have developed the new rules to ensure that we are able to meet the latest challenges threatening clean sport, and that athletes and the public can have confidence in clean competition.” – Sapstead to the BBC

According to a CBC report, WADA approved changes to its code last year after a two-year consultation process. In May 2019 more than 150 current and former athletes – including now cannabusiness owner Mike Tyson – sent a letter to WADA asking them to remove THC from its banned substances list.

In 2017, 154 athletes tested by WADA failed the test for THC.

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