One day into the Olympics and Australia has already won our first gold medal, followed by second (damn, swim-team, you pretty fine). With all the good news today, Aussies are keen to get into the celebrating spirit, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Athletes competing in the 31st Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro can now celebrate their victory (or console their loss) with a little help from the devil’s lettuce. Yes – athletes can now smoke dope without incurring a doping charge.
The International Olympic Committee has recently confirmed that they have changed their doping regulations for the Rio Olympics concerning marijuana. It comes after the World Anti-Doping Agency relaxed their rules on how much THC (the active component in marijuana) was permitted in a competing athlete. The old rules meant an athlete could be charged with doping (and be disqualified) if they had a minuscule 15 nanograms per millilitre in their test sample. The new rules mean they can have ten times that amount before being charged with doping.
Several athletes in recent years have been suspended from competition after trace amounts of THC were found in their test samples. In 2009, half-man half-fish Michael Phelps lost a sponsor and was suspended from competing for six months after he was photographed smoking a bong. Four athletes at the London 2012 Olympics were disqualified for positive THC tests, including an athlete whose positive test was the result of a hash brownie he ate before leaving for London.
To clarify: marijuana is still very much illegal in Brazil. You can’t legally buy it, and the penalties for being found with it in your possession range from community service to 15 years in jail. But should any athletes in Rio be partial to a spliff or two, they should be able to do so without fear of disqualification from the games.