On November 8, 2016, Nevada voted 55 to 45 in favor of Question 2, which supported legalizing the recreational use of one ounce or less of marijuana by individuals 21 and over. Now at its January 13 meeting, the Nevada Athletic Commission will consider, “the possible exclusion of cannabinoids from the list of Prohibited Substances and Methods pursuant to the passage of Nevada Ballot Initiative Question 2.”
There is no guarantee that cannabinoids will be removed from the banned list, but it will at least be up for discussion. And TMZ Sports, which first reported the story, says the repeal was “looking good.” They cautioned, however, that if passed, it would take three months before the repeal comes into effect.
The NAC has not been progressive on the issue of marijuana in combat sports.
Nick Diaz fought Anderson Silva at UFC 183 on January 31, 2015. Silva failed a test for the performance-enhancing drugs drostanolone and androsterone and was suspended for a year. At the same event, Nick passed highly-reliable tests for the demon weed marijuana. However, due to a less reliable test result, the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) suspended Diaz for five years and fined him $165,000.
UFC drug czar Jeff Novitzky explained respectfully the NAC got it wrong, to no avail. Diaz fought back legally, and the commission quietly changed the five years to 18 months, retroactively to the date of the “offense” and reduced the fine to $100,000. Diaz paid off $25,000 of it, but an unjust $75,000 remained. So the NAC banned Nick from being in Nate’s corner vs. McGregor.
In addition, Nick wasn’t allowed in the first six rows, or the locker room, or even communicate with his own brother or his brother’s corner. Nick felt strongly that had he been allowed in Nate’s corner, it would have made the winning difference.
Eventually, Diaz reached an agreement with the NAC, and is finally free to participate in all fight-related activities. Still, the hardcore fanbase was not impressed that Diaz was suspended for 18 months and fined $100,000 when the NAC was clearly in error.
A repeal of the prohibition on cannabinoids could go a long way towards restoring trust in the NAC.