Many people incorporate their cannabis lifestyle with their professional ambitions. This is particularly true for musicians, artists and pro-skateboarders. All three use the plant to fuel their creative minds in their respective fields.
For musicians and artists, drug testing is not an issue. Rarely does a positive result prevent such professionals from performing on stage or taking part in a local exhibition. But for pro-skateboarders, drug testing is a huge problem- especially for those who want to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
Waving the Green Flag
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed earlier this year that it will introduce five new sports in the 2020 event, which includes climbing, karate, baseball, surfing and skateboarding. The last two have a reputation for being filled with professionals who are also prolific cannabis enthusiasts. Tas Pappas, a pro-skateboarder from Australia, explained that while people in the skate community are thrilled about the sport making it to the Olympics, some are hesitant about joining, due to strict guidelines surrounding marijuana testing.
“I’m wondering how it’s going to work as far as the drug testing is concerned, because some guys skate really well on weed and if they have to stop smoking for one competition [the Olympics] it might really affect their performance,” said Tas Pappas.
By comparison, the X Games, or the largest competition event for pro-skaters, does not require participants to get tested for illicit substances (according to an ABC report). When it comes to the Olympics, the IOC considers weed as a performance-enhancing substance and does not tolerate consumption during live competition. However, outside of competition, athletes could get away with moderate consumption, as long as THC levels do not exceed the threshold of 150 nanograms per milliliter. This means that pro-skaters could technically still smoke weed before and after the Olympics, but not during live competition.
What do athletes do when they test positive for marijuana during the Olympic games? Some individuals, like Ross Rebagliati, start their own line of cannabis products. The Canadian won gold in snowboarding during the 1998 games, but almost got his winnings confiscated after testing positive for weed.
Rebagliati founded the company Ross’ Gold, which features CBD cartridges, vape pens, grinders and glass pipes. The brand is currently in the process of releasing their own specialty buds to medical dispensaries across the country.
“Anytime somebody gets in trouble for weed I’m the guy the media calls,” explained Rebagliati, during an interview with USA TODAY Sports. “I went on NBC to defend (Michael) Phelps for smoking responsibly. I told them, Hey, it’s zero calories, zero fat!'”
According to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), over 13.9 percent of samples tested for banned substances during the Olympic Games came back positive for weed (in 2003). The only substance that exceeds this figure is anabolic agents that promote the production of testosterone.