RSS Feed for this category 192 Performance Enhancing Drugs That Are Banned From Sports

Did you know there are 192 drugs and methods that have banned from sports as "performance enhancing"? Read about it on, part of the family.

This is the fifth installment in a Drug War Chronicle "Did You Know" series of important facts from Check out the Chronicle next two week to read the last installment, or sign up for's email list or RSS feed. Read last week's installment here. is a web site promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format.

Chronicle AM: Major Asset Forfeiture Reform Move, NCAA Drug Policy Review, Indonesia Executions, More (1/16/15)

Attorney General Holder announces a major civil asset forfeiture reform move, the NCAA will review its drug policies, a Vermont report on the impact of pot legalization has been released, and more. Let's get to it:

"Policing for profit" just took a big hit thanks to Attorney General Holder. (
Marijuana Policy

No Marijuana Stores in Alaska's Capital Until October. The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly has approved a moratorium on marijuana-related businesses until October 19. City officials will not consider any land use or other permits until the moratorium expires, meaning pot businesses won't be able to grow crops or prepare for retail sales until then.

Report on Impact of Legalization in Vermont Released. Vermont could make tens of millions of dollars in marijuana revenues a year, according to a new comprehensive report released today. The report was commissioned by the state legislature and serves as a policy guide as the state considers legalization. It lays out various options for legalization.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Dead. Rep. Allen Peake's House Bill 1, which would have allowed for the use of high-CBD cannabis oil to treat seizures in children, has died before even being introduced. The bill died after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) announced his support for another CBD bill, which is yet to be written.

Kansas Medical Marijuana Supporters Rally in Topeka. Several dozen medical marijuana supporters were joined by a pair of Democratic lawmakers at a statehouse rally today to call for legalizing the medicinal use of the herb. The two legislators, Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita) and Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City), filed medical marijuana bills prior to the start of this year's legislative session. Similar measures have been filed since 2009, but none of them have made it to the discussion stage in committee.

Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Holder Blocks Federal Asset Forfeiture Sharing Program. In the boldest civil asset forfeiture reform move in years, Holder has barred federal agencies from participating in the Equitable Sharing asset forfeiture program, under which state and local police seeking to circumvent state asset forfeiture laws would let federal agencies "adopt" the seizures. Under the program, the police agency got up to 80% of the proceeds, while state laws typically require them to be deposited in designated accounts, such as the general fund or education funds. Click on the link for the full story.

Drug Policy

NCAA to Consider Revamping Its Drug Policy. In the wake of criticism for suspending a University of Oregon football player for pot smoking just before the collegiate national championship game, and after its Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports informally recommended it, the NCAA will examine proposed changes to its policies for testing both performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. The NCAA's standard for marijuana, for instance, it 10 times that used for airline pilots.


Stratfor Report on Mexican Drug Trafficking. The Austin-based private intelligence group has released a free, condensed version of its annual Mexican drug cartel report. Check it out at the link.

Indonesia Set to Execute Six Drug Convicts Sunday. New President Joko Widodo appears to be living up to his vow to not grant clemency to death row drug prisoners. The Indonesian Attorney General's Office announced Friday that it will execute six convicted drug traffickers Sunday. Widodo signed off on the executions last month.

Chronicle AM: Congress Unlikely to Mess With DC Marijuana Legalization, Guatemala Could Legalize Next Year, More (11/17/14)

Congress may "just say meh" to DC legalization, Washington state's first pot auction was a success, it's back to the drawing board for Florida Charlotte's Web regulators, Lebanese hash farmers have an unusual problem, Guatemala's president said pot legalization could be coming soon, and more. Let's get to it:

There's too much hash in the hash fields of Lebanon. (
Marijuana Policy

Congressional Republicans Not Too Interested in Blocking DC Legalization. Congressional Republicans, eager to wage battle against President Obama and the Democrats on immigration reform and the Affordable Care Act, don't appear that interested in trying to block the District of Columbia from implementing the marijuana legalization initiative voters approved on Election Day. The Washington Post quoted several senators who said they had other things on their minds. "That's pretty far down my list of priorities," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC). "I haven't given it one thought," said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). The Post also quoted a Heritage Foundation analyst as saying trying to block DC legalization could cost valuable political capital and expose a rift between GOP social conservatives and libertarians.

Washington State's First Pot Auction Brings in $600,000. In the first auction of legally licensed and produced marijuana in the state, Fireweed Farms sold more than 300 pounds of pot Saturday at an average price of $2,000 a pound. That's a $600,000 payday for the growers.

Pot Smoking Tickets Up Nearly Five-Fold in Denver. Through the first three quarters of this year, Denver police have cited 668 people for public pot smoking, compared to just 117 during the same period last year. That's a 471% increase. Even under legalization, public display and consumption of marijuana remains a no-no. Some advocates said public consumption will be an issue until the city allows for it to be consumed in bars or pot clubs.

Medical Marijuana

Florida Judge Rejects Medical Marijuana Growers Lottery Plan, Sends Health Department Back to Drawing Board. The state legislature this year approved the use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oils, but now an administrative law judge has ruled that the Department of Health's plan to use a lottery to choose growers is not the way to go. "I knew that the lottery became strictly a chance-based scenario and it wasn't merit-based or experience-based. And to me, I had to object to it," said Judge W. David Watkins in his order last Friday. The ruling should result in a better system of distributing licenses, but it could also delay when the cannabis oil actually becomes available to patients.

Asset Forfeiture

Scranton Times-Tribune Calls for Asset Forfeiture Reform. One of Pennsylvania's mid-level newspapers has jumped on the asset forfeiture reform bandwagon. In a Monday editorial, The Scranton Times-Tribune called for federal civil asset forfeiture reform. Citing "pervasive abuses" by state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies, the newspaper called on the Congress to pass pending asset forfeiture reform legislation, and for Pennsylvania officials to examine whether the state's asset forfeiture law needs reform as well.

Prescription Drugs

DEA Pays Visit to NFL Teams Over Use of Pain Relievers. Spurred by reports of widespread use of prescription pain relievers in a recent lawsuit filed against the NFL, DEA agents Sunday visited several NFL teams to question medical staff members about their prescribing practices for drugs used to energize players before games and relieve their pain afterward. The DEA characterized the visits as "administrative," and nothing was seized and no one detained. "Our role is law enforcement, and we have the regulatory authority to make sure anyone who has a license operates within the law," said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne.

Harm Reduction

Chicago Recovery Alliance's Harm Reduction Gets Work Some Notice. The DePaul University newspaper The DePaulia has profiled the Windy City's Chicago Recovery Alliance and the harm reduction work in which it is engaged. The newspaper calls harm reduction "a small movement in the United States meant not to stigmatize drug users, but to safely educate and assist drug users with the ultimate purpose of reducing risk and eliminating drug-related complications and deaths." It's actually a pretty good overview of the harm reduction field.


With Lebanese Army Busy with Syrian Civil War, Hash Farmers Are Cursed By Oversupply. For the second year in a row, the Lebanese Army has been too concerned with the fighting on its borders to get around to eradicating marijuana crops in the Bekaa Valley, but the hash farmers can't win for losing. Now they face a flooded market and falling prices. Before the Syrian civil war and the glut, farmers were getting $1,500 for 1.2 kilos of hash; now that price has fallen to $500. Not only is the glut the problem, but political and military insecurity have made smuggling more difficult as well, feeding further downward price pressures.

Guatemala President Says County Could Legalize Marijuana Next Year. In an interview with TeleSur TV on Saturday, President Otto Perez Molina said Guatemala would decide early next year whether to follow Uruguay on the path to marijuana legalization. Perez Molina has also made similar noises about legalizing opium poppy production. Stay tuned.

Did You Know Why Some Performance Enhancing Drugs Are Legal While Others Are Banned?, from

Did you know why (supposedly) athletes are allowed to use some drugs but not others? Read the details on, part of the family.

Follow Drug War Chronicle for more important facts from over the next several weeks, or sign up for's email list or RSS feed.

Read last week's "Did You Know" Chronicle blurb here. is a web site promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format.

Chronicle AM -- February 17, 2014

Olympic drug testers back off on marijuana, a surprise marijuana vote in New Mexico, a bad medical marijuana bill in Michigan, NYPD's most sued cops are all narcs, a new South Australian law criminalizes some speech about synthetic drugs, and more. Let's get to it:

You don't even want to talk about synthetic stimulants now in South Australia. (
Marijuana Policy

New Mexico Senate Committee Votes to Remove Marijuana from Schedule I. In a surprise move, the Senate Judiciary Committee Saturday voted to remove marijuana from the state's list of controlled substances. The move came in the form of an amendment by Sen. Cisco McSorley (D-Albuquerque) to a synthetic cannabinoids ban bill, Senate Bill 127. The bill goes now to the full Senate.

Poll Finds Majority Support for Legalization in New York. A new Quinnipiac University poll released today shows that New Yorkers support the legalization of small amounts of recreational marijuana 57% to 39%, while 45% of those voters say marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol and 36% say it's less dangerous. The poll also found whopping 88% support for medical marijuana. Click on the poll link for more details.

Medical Marijuana

Michigan Bill Would Allow Landlords to Prohibit Patient Use on Private Property. A bill that would allow Michigan landlords to ban the use, possession, or cultivation on private property is set for a committee hearing this week. Senate Bill 783, sponsored by Sens. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) and James Marleau (R-Lake Orion), gets a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow afternoon. Foes called the bill "hostile" and "unnecessary."

Synthetic Drugs

Synthetic Drug Ban Bill Passes Alabama Senate. A bill that would expand Alabama's ban on new synthetic drugs passed the Senate last Thursday and now heads to the House. Senate Bill 333, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-3rd District), would add additional synthetic cannabinoids and other analogues to the ban. Next stop is the House Judiciary Committee.

(See the international section below for another synthetic drugs item.)

Law Enforcement

Meet NYPD's Most Sued Cops -- They're All Narcs. The New York Daily News reveals that 55 NYPD officers have been sued 10 times or more at a cost to the city of over $6 million. The Daily News then profiled the four officers with the most lawsuits filed against them. All four are narcotics officers. And for some reason, all four are still on the job.

Senators Still Looking for Answers on Customs Searches of Domestic Private Aircraft. It took holding up the nomination of current drug czar Gil Kerlikowske to head Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but a pair of US senators finally got a response from CBP to their months-old question about how and why the border protection agency was stopping and searching private aircraft that had never left the US. Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Jim Risch (R-ID) put the hold on the nomination, and while CBP has responded, they say they are still not satisfied with the response and sent a February 12 letter requesting a briefing and additional written responses from DHS. Click on the title link to get all the details.


California Defelonization Sentencing Reform Initiative Cleared for Circulation. A sentencing reform initiative whose proponents are San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and San Diego Police Chief William Landsdown has been approved for signature gathering. The initiative would require misdemeanor sentences instead of felonies for a number of petty crimes, including certain drug possession offenses. It would also require resentencing for people currently serving felony sentences for those offenses. It needs 504,000 valid voter signatures before the end of spring to qualify for the November ballot.


Olympics Drug Testers Raise Permissible Levels for Marijuana. The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) has raised the permissible level of marijuana in athletes' urine from 15 nanograms per millileter to 150 nanograms. Although WADA considers marijuana to be a performance enhancing drug, it also conceded that it also "is a socially more or less an accepted drug being used in social context" and raised the threshold accordingly. "That's a reasonable attempt at dealing with a complicated matter and that was agreed upon as the best way to proceed with this particular issue," Arne Ljungqvist, head of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, told reporters Saturday in Sochi. "There is a big debate on it."

Harsh New Synthetic Drug Laws Now in Effect in South Australia. New laws that heighten criminal penalties for selling or manufacturing synthetic stimulant drugs went into effect across South Australia today. In addition to increased prison sentences, the Controlled Substances (Offences) Amendment Bill 2013 also outlaws the "promotion" of synthetic drugs or causing another person to believe they caused effect similar to an illegal drug or similar to a legal stimulant. Those speech-crime offenses are punishable by up to two years in prison.

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Filed in Bermuda. Members of the opposition People's National Party filed a marijuana decriminalization bill Friday. The Decriminalization of Cannabis Act would remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to half an ounce, but Attorney General Mark Pettingill seemed quite perturbed by it, accusing the PNP of coming "swashbuckling in" with a "very badly thought out" bill.

Norway Approves Use of Naloxone for Overdose Reversal. Norway has Europe's worst overdose rate, and now the Scandinavian country is preparing a pilot program that will offer the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) in its two most populous cities, Oslo and Bergen, later this year. Since 2002, about 240 people have died each year in Norway from heroin overdoses, more than have died from traffic accidents.

Vancouver Clinic Seeks Federal Approval for Long-Running Safe Injection Site. The Dr. Peter Center, which has quietly provided supervised injection services for its clients since 2002, is now seeking a formal exemption from Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to be able to do so legally. The move, which comes in the wake of a 2011 Canadian Supreme Court decision stopping the federal government from shutting down the Insite supervised injection site in the Downtown Eastside, has the support of the city and provincial governments.

NCAA to Tighten Up Marijuana Testing, But Reduce Penalties

The NCAA is reducing the threshold for a positive result for marijuana, meaning that student athletes who smoke pot are more likely to be caught. At the same time, however, it is recommending reducing the penalty for those testing positive for marijuana.

NCAA game, North Carolina v. Michigan State, 2005 (courtesy Haaron755 on
The testing threshold will drop from 15 nanograms per milliliter of blood to five nanograms in order to "more accurately identify usage among student athletes," the group's Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport announced last Friday.

The lower marijuana threshold will go into effect on August 1 and would require a season-long suspension from athletic activities, the same penalty for those athletes caught using performance-enhancing drugs. The CSMAS is recommending that the penalty for positive marijuana tests be lowered to a half-season suspension because it doesn't consider the herb to be a performance-enhancing drug, but that change won't come into effect until August 2014.

That means the NCAA could see a spike in one-year suspensions for pot as the new, tighter threshold goes into effect, but the move to reduce penalties lags behind.

CSMAS explained that marijuana had not been part of athletic drug testing until after some Olympic snow boarders tested positive for it after the 1998 games and embarrassed Olympic officials:

"At that time, there was no penalty for a positive marijuana test, but many in the Olympic family were embarrassed about the test results. This led to placing marijuana on the in-competition list of banned drugs," the panel said on its web site. "Many scientists and clinicians have debated whether marijuana is truly performance enhancing. Indeed, John Fahey, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, recently acknowledged that many scientists believe that the current marijuana criteria need to be amended, and he further stated that this matter will be considered in a review process."

If marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug, why should athletes be penalized for using it? CSMAS is glad you asked:

"The World Anti-Doping Agency lists three reasons for drug testing in sport: (1) to prevent cheating through the use of performance-enhancing substances and methods; (2) to deter athletes from ingesting substances that may harm the athlete’s health; and (3) to deter athletes from ingesting substances or engaging in doping methods that are contrary to the spirit of sport," the group explained. "Whereas the CSMAS rightly focused on the fact that marijuana and other street drugs are not performance enhancing, the committee also recognizes that the universe of sport is special, and the student-athlete is obliged to embrace the spirit of sport. We do not believe that student-athletes should be ingesting marijuana and other street drugs, and we believe that a combination of penalties coupled with behavioral intervention is the most balanced approach to this issue."

And does this mean an athlete who smoked a joint a month before the big bowl game could test positive for marijuana and face penalties from the NCAA?

"Yes," said CSMAS.

Indianapolis, IN
United States

Did You Know? "Doping Cases at the Olympics, 1968-2010," on

Did you know there were 127 doping cases reported at the Olympics between 1968 and 2010? Read the details in "Doping Cases at the Olympics, 1968-2010," on the web site, part of the family. Also on "Top 10 Pros and Cons: Should performance enhancing drugs (such as steroids) be accepted in sports?", and other resources.

This is the third in a six-part series of teasers being published in Drug War Chronicle. Keep tuning in to the Chronicle for more important facts from the next several weeks, or sign up for's email list or RSS feed. Read last week's Chronicle piece here. is a web site promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format.

Expulsion of Olympic Athlete for Marijuana Raises Questions

An American Olympic judo contender, Nick Delpopolo, was expelled from the London 2012 Olympic Games Monday after he tested positive for marijuana, and that has some experts raising questions about whether it makes sense to include marijuana on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of banned substances.

Judo match, 2012 Olympics, London (Martin Duggan via Flickr and Wikimedia)
Delpopolo said he had inadvertently consumed marijuana in a food item he did not know contained it.

Concerns about athletes "cheating" by using performance enhancing drugs is one thing, but the use of recreational drugs that do not enhance -- and could well detract from -- competitive performance is another. Recreational drugs are banned not because they might provide an athlete with an unfair advantage, but because their use by athletes can cause public relations problems for organized sports, which like to tout athletes as role models for youth.

But some experts told Reuters Monday that sports' PR concerns were no reason to ban athletes for using marijuana. They also suggested the time, expense, and effort of drug testing athletes might be better spent going after real cheats who do blood doping with EPO or use anabolic steroids to increase muscle growth and testosterone levels.

"There's no evidence cannabis is ever performance enhancing in sport, and since its use is legal in a number of countries, there's no reason for it to be banned by WADA," said David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. "I can't think of any sport in which it would be an advantage. And it seems ludicrous that someone could quite legally smoke cannabis in Amsterdam in the morning and then come over to London in the afternoon and be banned from competing."

But marijuana is banned by WADA, and that means athletes caught using it during a competition face a two-year ban. Still, unlike performance enhancing drugs, WADA does not punish athletes who test positive for pot outside of competitions. That stance has led some scientists to suggest that WADA's reason for banning marijuana is political, not scientific.

"The problem is the elite athletes should be seen as role models for young kids, and so they ban cannabis because they don't want to have the image of gold medalists smoking joints," said one British-based sports scientist who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

[Ed: If officials don't link images of athletes smoking marijuana, they might have a poor strategy -- no one knew Delpolo used it, before he was sanctioned, but now everyone does.]

"It's hard to imagine how smoking a joint or eating marijuana brownies is going to help somebody in judo," said Michael Joyner, a member of the Physiological Society and a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in the United States. "My advice to WADA is that they should focus on drugs that are clearly performance enhancing in the sports where they are clearly performance enhancing."

According to WADA, substance merit inclusion on its banned substances list if they meet two of these three criteria: they are proven to be performance enhancing, they are dangerous to the health of athletes, or they are contrary to the spirit of sport. There is little or no evidence that marijuana can enhance sporting performance, while there is evidence it could have a negative impact. It can slow reaction times, cause coordination problems, and reduce hand-eye coordination, none of which is going to increase an athlete's chances of victory.

While marijuana is not harm free, there is little evidence it is dangerous to the health of athletes. Nor is it clear why marijuana use would be "contrary to the spirit of sport."

WADA isn't keen to clarify. It refused to comment Monday on a Reuters query about why marijuana is banned.

United Kingdom

Did You Know? Historical Timeline of Drugs and Sports

Did you know that historical references to drug use in sports goes back to the 8th century BC? Read about the practices and issues from ancient times through the present, in Historical Timeline -- History of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports, on, part of the family.

Follow Drug War Chronicle for more important facts from over the next few weeks, or sign up for's email list or RSS feed. Click here for last week's Chronicle Did You Know segment. is a web site promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format.

Did You Know? "History of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports," on

The history drugs in sports goes back at least to the ancient Greeks and Romans, whose athletes made use of wine, hallucinogens, stimulants and other substances in attempts to enhance their performance. To learn more, visit History of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports, on the web site, part of the family.

This is the final installment in a six-week Drug War Chronicle series highlighting interesting and important pages from Click here to read last week's blurb, or sign up for's email list or RSS feed. is a web site promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format.

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