Florida State Boxing Commission Votes to Eliminate Marijuana from Drug Testing List

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 4, 2021

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Marijuana is no longer considered a banned substance by the Florida State Boxing Commission, ESPN's Marc Raimondi reported Tuesday. 

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation spokesperson Patrick Fargason told Raimondi the commission voted Tuesday to remove cannabis from its testing protocol.

Previously, any fighter who was found to have marijuana in their system would be suspended, fined and have a victory overturned, according to Raimondi. Now, they will not be tested for the substance, though, if they are noticeably impaired during a fight, action will be taken.

The change affects boxing and MMA competitions in the state and will go into effect immediately. 

The new rule mirrors the change made to the UFC's anti-doping policy in January. That guidance, determined by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, advises no discipline for positive tests for marijuana unless a fighter is under the influence at an event. 

"It would probably require visual signs if the athlete shows up at an event stumbling, smelling like marijuana, eyes bloodshot, things like that," Jeff Novitzky, the UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance explained to ESPN in January (h/t Raimondi). "And that's ... something you rarely, if ever, see. I certainly haven't in my six years with the UFC."

The Association of Boxing Commissions medical advisory committee, which already suggested lesser punishments for positive tests in correlation with the change to the UFC policy, plans to recommend these changes to other states this summer. 

"The Committee further states that THC is not a performance enhancing drug, it is a performance suppressor and athletes who test positive for THC should not be punished in the same manner as an athlete that tests positive for performance enhancing drugs," their statement read.