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Outcomes of the Executive Committee Meeting: Cannabis and Revised Code Compliance Policy

Preliminary discussion on the review of Cannabis:

“…the ExCo endorsed the decision of the List Expert Advisory Group to initiate in 2022 a scientific review of the status of cannabis. Cannabis is currently prohibited in competition and will continue to be in 2022.” iNADO welcomes this review. iNADO maintains that the placing of cannabis on the prohibited list should be reviewed not just from a scientific perspective but should include social, policy and proportionality arguments. 

Questions remain open regarding the potential of cannabis to enhance performance but even if the potential is established that can not be the end of any discussion. The prohibited list does not include other substances for which evidence of performance enhancement and adverse health consequences have been at least as compelling as (for instance Tribulus).

Many organizations have taken a harm reduction rather than punitive approach to cannabis use. This is because, in the vast majority of cases, it is used outside the sporting environment and for non-sporting purposes. Currently the harm to athletes careers far outweighs the benefits of any punishment and the disproportionate amount of resource required to police it. WADA has the option to include it for specific sports if compelling evidence of potential advantage is produced.

In the past, arguments presented to review the merits of cannabis to be part of the list have been either unsuccessful or ignored but recent events have moved WADA to acknowledge this need. We encourage WADA to approach this issue with transparency about the criteria to review if cannabis (or any other substance) has the merit to be part of the prohibited list. To minimize biases, we recommend that the review should be conducted by independent experts which are not currently part of the WADA organization.

Revised Policy for WADA’s application of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories

The creation of an additional category of priority to monitor Code Signatories´ compliance with the Code is positive. The revised prioritization could bring benefits by adapting the Code Compliance Monitoring program more efficiently to the capabilities of small and under-resourced Code signatories.

In turn, we hope that the new prioritization policy is proportionate to the ability of each Code Signatory. Organizations with the largest risks should be in the top prioritization tier. This is necessary for fairness and public accountability.