Two of the Ducks most lauded players, Darren Carrington and Ayele Forde were banned from Monday’s game after failing an NCAA drug test that was administered at the Rose Bowl. This team has seemed unstoppable all season. According to Sports Illustrated they averaged 49 points over their last nine games… but ultimately finished their run by getting trounced by Ohio State 42-20.
Aside from the question of whether Carrington and Forde’s presence on the field would have changed the outcome of the game, this situation opens up the Pandora’s Box that is legalization. Oregon, Colorado, Washington State and Alaska have all passed laws that legalize the use of recreational marijuana. The law doesn’t officially go into effect in Oregon until July 1st, but even after that date marijuana use will still be against not only federal law, but also NCAA rules and school policy.
Then there is the question of how much is too much? The NCAA considers a marijuana test positive if there are more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. When compared to other sports, this threshold is extremely low. In the NFL it takes 15 nanograms to get a positive test, in MLB it’s 50. Now that pot is legal in some states, just being at a party or bar where others are smoking could put athletes in violation. This could also be a concern for anyone required to take drug tests for work.
Bottom line, legalizing marijuana is not as easy as just marking a ballot. Every day we are going to see more unintended consequences of these new laws, and every organization, whether it’s the NCAA or your business, is going to have to sit down and firm up marijuana policies. This is not a one-time thing, but rather an evolution. Hopefully heartbreaks like the one suffered by Ducks fans this week will be few and far between.
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