The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports recommended legislation that would remove cannabis from the NCAA's list of banned drug classes at all three divisions, the governing body announced Friday. The recommendation calls for a "robust educational strategy" for college athletes when it comes to cannabis.
The committee concluded that removing cannabis from the list of banned substances would accomplish the following:
- Acknowledges the ineffectiveness of existing policy (banning, testing and penalizing).
- Affirms the role of the NCAA drug-testing program to address only performance-enhancing substances.
- Emphasizes the importance of moving toward a harm-reduction strategy that prioritizes education and support at the school level over penalties.
"Cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug and that a harm-reduction approach to cannabis is best implemented at the school level," The NCAA stated in a release following midweek meetings in Indianapolis.
The committee's release also cites changing "cultural and legal landscapes" surrounding the use cannabis.
As for what's next, the timetable for adoption of this new legislation now rests in the hands of all three NCAA divisional governing structures.
"When making a decision on an important topic like this, we agree that the membership should have an opportunity to vote on the final outcome," committee chair James Houle, lead sport psychologist at Ohio State, said in a statement. "We are recommending a big shift in the paradigm when it comes to cannabinoids. We want to modernize the strategy with the most up-to-date research to give schools the best opportunity to support the health of student-athletes."