By Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project
Last week, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) slapped former middleweight champion boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. with a $900,000 fine and nine-month suspension. Why? Not for using a performance-enhancing drug or throwing a match, but simply because he tested positive for marijuana. Such an excessive punishment should not go unanswered, and fortunately Chavez is planning to appeal the decision. We need to get behind him and take this opportunity to send a message to the sporting world that it's time to revisit their marijuana policies.
The NSAC would never punish a fighter so severely for using alcohol, yet marijuana is an objectively less harmful product. It is less toxic, less addictive, and it does not contribute to assaults and other violent crimes like alcohol does. The commission's harsh marijuana penalties do nothing to promote the health and safety of athletes. If anything, they put them in danger by steering them toward using alcohol and away from making the safer choice to use marijuana instead.
Send a message to the head of the NSAC today and tell him the commission should drop the penalties against Chavez and change their policy regarding marijuana. Let him know it is time to stop driving athletes to drink!
Source: Marijuana Policy Project