By Rebecca Cox, produced for online by Mitchell Ogden.
Australia’s leading sporting bodies are pushing for marijuana to be removed as a banned match-day drug.
Australia’s Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, which includes the AFL, ARLC, Cricket Australia and Tennis Australia, are meeting in Sydney today with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to discuss the issue.
The coalition will be pushing the view that cannabis, codeine, caffeine and pseudoephedrine should not be treated as performance-enhancing drugs.
Malcolm Speed, former CEO of the International Cricket Council, says the coalition are well within their rights to argue their case.
“To have these drugs on the list is inconsistent, and they are worthy and truly entitled to raise and argue it with the Anti-Doping Agency,” he said.
Addiction expert Dr Stefan Gruenert, who is also a member of the Federal Government’s Illicit Drugs in Sport program, says there is no reason to leave these substances on the banned list.
“While they might have harm to individuals and communities and families, there’s no evidence to suggest that they enhance performance and, in fact, some of them actually detract from performance,” he said.
Marijuana is illegal in Australia and Mr Gruenert says the Government may not wish to take it off the banned list so as not to send a mixed message to players and sports fans.
“If, for political or other reasons, they want to send a particular message around drug use they may choose to leave at least cannabis on, and potentially some of the others.”