Professional PGA golfer Robert Garrigus received a three-month suspension after testing positive for THC in March. He is making the case to remove cannabis from the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) list of banned substances.

Garrigus told Golf Channel that he used medical cannabis to treat back and knee pain in compliance with state law in Washington. Performance enhancing substances that give players and unfair advantage should remain prohibited, he said, but “everything else should be a discussion.”

“I wasn’t trying to degrade the PGA Tour in any way or my fellow professionals in any way,” he said. “I don’t cheat the game. That wasn’t the intention.”

Now that he’s back playing, Garrigus said he has a meeting with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan next week to discuss the league’s drug policy. He’s aiming to open a dialogue about creating an exception for marijuana given its legal status in states throughout the country.

He argued that cannabis “doesn’t help you get the ball in the hole,” unlike other banned substances such as human growth hormone. And while he’s ceased using medical cannabis, Garrigus said it should be an option available to players.

“If you have some sort of pain and CBD or THC may help and you feel like it can help you and it is prescribed by a doctor, then what are we doing?” he said. “If you are testing for marijuana then we should be testing for alcohol, too. If you can buy it in a store, then why are we testing for it? That’s my opinion.” For the time being, however, PGA doesn’t seem interested in carving out an exception for marijuana.

Around the time that Garrigus was suspended, PGA Tour issued a warning to players in a newsletter, cautioning them that CBD products that are increasingly marketed to athletes could contain trace amounts of THC that would show up in a drug test. “Taking a poorly labeled supplement that is contaminated with a prohibited substance is NOT a defense to a violation of the Program,” PGA said. Garrigus said “100 percent” of players he’s talked to agree that marijuana should be removed from the banned substances list. “I haven’t heard a bad thing from a single guy,” he said. “Every person I’ve talked to said that it’s an absolutely ridiculous rule.”

While the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) dropped the marijuana compound from its list of banned substances for athletes  last year, the golf organization wants its players to be advised that some CBD products may contain THC, which is still prohibited by the league.

WADA’s decision “led to an increase of CBD products and marketing directed toward athletes at all levels of play,” reads a notice in a PGA Tour newsletter sent out to players last month. “CBD products (like all supplements) pose a risk to athletes because they have limited government regulation and may contain THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that is prohibited.”

“The FDA, DEA, and private organizations including Major League Baseball (MLB), have conducted tests on CBD and ‘THC-free’ products only to find significant levels of psychoactive (and prohibited) THC or falsely labeled amounts of CBD,” says the Greensheet newsletter. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the use of CBD/marijuana in athletes when used in states where it is legal.

Information for this article was found on the MarijuanaMoment.com website.

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