Thursday, May 30, 2024

How Each Of America’s Sports Leagues Test For Marijuana

Each sports leagues test for marijuana with a different credence. Some operate under strict guidelines with harsh punishments while other sporting organization approach marijuana with a “Don’t Get Caught” nonchalance.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how each league tests for marijuana:


Since it’s the offseason, any current NBA players won’t be tested for weed. The league randomly tests players four times a year throughout the regular season. Following the fourth test, players no longer get tested for the rest of the year. It’s easy to get caught as players test positive with 15 nanograms of extracted THC per milliliter of urine. But the NBA is relaxed on penalties. Players must enter a substance-abuse program following their first infraction and receive a $25,000 fine for a second positive test. A third infraction means a five-game suspension and the league adds five more games on to every following violation.


Though the NFL is littered with cannabis-related suspensions this season, players can get away with smoking marijuana if they’re clever. For players not in the league’s substance-abuse program, the NFL tests athletes once in the offseason from mid-April to mid-August. Having 35 ng/mL will ding a positive test and players must enter an intervention program as punishment. Each subsequent violation results in game suspension and if players repeatedly fail drug tests, they can receive a lifelong ban from the NFL.


The strictest testing in all of sports, players test positive with a threshold of 5 ng/mL. However, the NCAA doesn’t have any blanket policy or guidelines for punishing players. In fact, each school and conference can determine their own rules in disciplining players. As college coaches have softened marijuana views, collegians who are caught have seen an ease in punishment.


A not-so-dirty secret in hockey is that marijuana isn’t on the league’s list of banned substances. A third of the players are tested by the NHL for street drugs. Players aren’t disciplined for testing positive for marijuana, though might need to enter a substance abuse program following multiple failed tests.


The league tests players only if the MLB or union officials have reasonable cause to do so. The MLB’s threshold is 50 ng/mL and may be subject to a treatment plan that could include progressive fines up to $35,000 for a positive test. Players only face suspension if they “flagrantly disregard” the rules or the commissions believe they are a threat to fellow players’ safety.

 Olympics (World Anti-Doping Agency)

The World Anti-Doping Agency has a high threshold of 150ng/mL for positive marijuana test. If caught, violators could see suspension from three months to a year.


You won’t find a public threshold limit for positive marijuana testing for the MLS. Some reports indicate the league follows WADA guidelines for marijuana of 150 ng/mL. However, unlike its fellow professional sports leagues, the MLS doesn’t have a specific number of test for players and conducts random testing for all prohibited testing throughout the year.


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