UFC executive Marc Ratner was in attendance at a Nevada State Athletic Commission today, and asked the commission to revisit the rules regarding marijuana, which many fighters have been busted for lately. Ratner used to be a member of the commission, but spoke as a member of the public at today's meeting and used the changing landscape of marijuana law in the United States as an example (via Bleacher Report):
"Society is changing, it's a different world now than when I was on the commission. States are legalizing marijuana and it's becoming more and more of a problem with fighters testing positive and the metabolites."
Right now the commission treats all banned substances as basically the same, meaning that the penalties for marijuana metabolites mirror the penalties for performance enhancing drug use. Like most MMA fans and media (and UFC president Dana White), Ratner believes that treating them the same doesn't make much sense:
"Right now, I just cannot believe that a performance-enhancing drug and marijuana can be treated the same," Ratner said. "It just doesn't make sense to the world anymore, and it's something that I think has to be brought up."
Dr. James Nave, an NSAC Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel member, saw Ratner's comments in a positive light and recommended that they hold a meeting to discuss the issue:
"I remember when President Clinton was president. Someone asked him if marijuana should be legal, and he said, 'Absolutely not. If it was, my brother would be dead.' That's not been that long ago, and look how fast society has changed on that.
"Although when you're an old man like me, you don't like society to change as fast as it should, the bottom line is if you're a smart old man, which I hope I am, you realize society is changing, and you better get your mindset around that. The bottom line is, I think that that's a big issue. It's one that we need to have our mind set on."
No time frame for the meeting was mentioned. This comes on the heels of a few recent marijuana suspensions, including Matt Riddle and Alex Caceres. Nick Diaz was also notably suspended for a year for a positive marijuana metabolites test in 2012 (his second failure in Nevada). Boxer Julio Cesar Chavez was also fined $900,000 and suspended for nine months by the commission recently for the same issue.