Good news for the Diaz brothers: the NSAC, in a meeting Friday, January 13 2017, will discuss the removal of cannabis from its list of prohibited substances. The move was listed on the agenda for the meeting posted to the commission website.
Specifically, the agenda states that the commission will discuss “the possible exclusion of cannabinoids from the list of Prohibited Substances and Methods pursuant to passage of Nevada Ballot Initiative Question 2 (2016).” Cannabinoids are the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. Currently, the NSAC allows a maximum level of cannabis metabolites of 150 ng/ml. The Nevada Ballot Initiative Question 2 surrounded legalizing the recreational use of one ounce or less of marijuana by individuals 21 and over. The initiative passed in favor of the Yes side.
Historically, the NSAC has adopted a hard line on fighters who choose to smoke (or otherwise use) marijuana. Although the allowable limit was raised from 50 ng/ml to 150 ng/ml in 2013, the commission has handed out heavy suspensions for those who test over the limit. That included an extremely controversial 5 year ban for Nick Diaz in 2015, which was eventually reduced on appeal after a public outcry. The NSAC’s suspension guideline for a first time offender for the non-performance enhancing substance is a lengthy 18 months.
However, it’s important to note that even if the NSAC were to remove cannabinoids from the list of Prohibited Substances and Methods, they remained banned under WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). WADA guidelines are utilized by USADA, who handle drug testing for the UFC, so UFC fighters could still be subject to suspension for positive tests for cannabis metabolites. Fighters in other promotions, however, could soon be in the clear in the state of Nevada – if the NSAC eventually pulls the trigger on making this change.