Hey, Olympians! You Can Smoke Weed, Just Not at Your Event
Olympic athletes can test positive for THC, up to a limit.
In 2009, a photo of swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, blazing on a bong surfaced in the media.
Phelps was dropped by one of his major sponsors, dissed by USA Swimming, and generally made to feel and look like a total stoner schmuck. Of course, the world champion athlete has since recovered his stature. Kellogg's––the sponsor that dropped him––feels like a huge dick, and societal reactions to sports figures coming out of the cannabis closet are less knee-jerky and judgmental; more supportive.
With the 2016 Summer Games going down in Rio De Janeiro, beginning this week––athletes preparing to compete on the world stage are probably, for the most part, more worried about scoring high in their respective events, than scoring some Brazilian dope and getting high in the Marvelous City.
Testing for performance-enhancing substances and other dope is overseen by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)—a group that maintains the "spirit of sport," and monitors the drug use of the world's athletes via the Anti-Doping Code. Mostly the WADA is the global watchdog for performance enhancing and gene-doping drugs. But in 2016 marijuana is still on the WADA's list of prohibited substances, though Olympic athletes can in fact test positive for THC, without necessarily being booted from the games altogether.
As reported by USA TODAY, WADA revised its rules on weed in 2013; "raising the threshold for a positive test from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 150 ng/ml." The paper cites a WADA rep, who unpacks the logic behind the change:
"Our information suggests that many cases do not involve game or event-day consumption. The new threshold level is an attempt to ensure that in-competition use is detected and not use during the days and weeks before competition."
The agency maintains that smoking weed indeed does not reflect the "spirit of sport," and the herb is still outlawed in Brazil. But watch WADA try to stop the estimated 30 million Americans that smoke at least once a year, once Phelps and the rest of Team USA smoke the f*cking shit out of the competition in every 2016 Olympic event. AMIRITE!?!?
USA! USA! USA! USA!
All right, that's enough overzealous nationalism for one post. You get it: Olympians can enjoy cannabis; they just can't blow smoke rings during the Olympics.