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Nick Diaz’s pot defense strategy is revealed

I’m not exactly sure why Nick Diaz is spending money on a lawyer to fight his marijuana suspension if he’s decided he’s retiring from fighting. But he is, and the lawyer sounds like he’s worth every penny he’s being paid. Here’s the defense they’ve just put forward to the Nevada State Athletic Commission:

“Marijuana is the only substance that is prohibited; not marijuana metabolites,” Goodman told ESPN.com.

“The basis to discipline Mr. Diaz is that he tested positive for a prohibited substance. We know he didn’t test positive for marijuana. So, you look to see at WADA whether marijuana metabolites are prohibited. They do not prohibit it in any category.”

In a sworn affidavit submitted with the response, Diaz stated he has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder for which he was prescribed medical marijuana by his physician, Robert E. Sullivan. Medical marijuana is legal in both Nevada and California, where Diaz resides.

Diaz and his camp have said the fighter suspends his use of marijuana eight days prior to a contest. Under the statues set forth by the NSAC, athletes are not punished for using marijuana out-of-competition.

According to Goodman, the substance Diaz tested positive for was THC-Carboxylic Acid, an inactive marijuana metabolite. NSAC executive director Keith Kizer was unavailable to comment on that claim Monday.

The response filed to the commission, therefore, challenges that Diaz merely tested positive for an inactive metabolite, which is not listed as a prohibited substance.

“You have to test positive for marijuana, as opposed to this inactive ingredient Nick did,” Goodman said.

“If there’s nothing in the rules prohibiting marijuana metabolites, why are we here?”

This might just be some fancy lawyer wordplay going on right here. There’s a huge list of performance enhancing and banned substances which are only detectable because of various metabolites found in an athlete’s system after the fact. The metabolite isn’t always the banned substance, it’s often just the indicator that a banned substance was taken.

That doesn’t mean Nick’s lawyer’s defense doesn’t make a lot of sense. Between an official declaration that ‘out of competition’ use is allowed and the fact that Diaz has a legit script for usage, it seems to me like the guy should be cut some slack. But the NSAC runs off rulebooks and even the most obvious solutions to issues are often ignored because they don’t fit into the existing guidelines and framework of the commission.

Don’t be surprised if the commission says “Yeah, you’ve made a good point, one that we’ll revisit during a 2014 rules meeting. For now though, your THC concentration level was above 50 so you’re still suspended.”

  • iamphoenix

    Cocaine dust is completely fine too. No one said nothing about no dust.

  • SHORT_BUS

    That last paragraph pretty much sums it all up. They’re bull headed and will go off precedent set with previous test failures.

  • DJ ThunderElbows

    I’m glad I’m no the only who had alarms going off for that metabolite shit.  Ugh.  I hope I don’t end up with a reason to curse the Diaz name after all is said and done.

  • SHORT_BUS

    Someone posted the following on the UG:

    —————————————————————–

    NAC 467.850(1) provides that the administration of or use of any…drug, including, but not limited to, the drugs or injections listed in subsection 2…that has not been approved by the Commission…either before or during a contest is prohibited.

    Subsection 2 is where the WADA prohibited drug list is incorporated in the NAC…the problem is that NAC 467.850(1) prohibits ANY drug not approved by the Commission, not just the drugs listed on the WADA list…Diaz’s response assumes that the NAC incorporated the limitations from the WADA list (i.e. metabolyte not being a banned substance and marijuana only being banned during competition), which from a policy standpoint, is a good argument, but it is not determinative from a literal reading of the statute….

    yes, its true that diaz did not test positive for the active ingredient in weed (THC), which is the banned substance under WADA, but marijuana metabolyte is evidence of diaz’s use of the drug (which has not been approved by the Commission) before the contest, which the Commission has discretion to disclipline a fighter for…

    so, even though I think its wrong from a policy standpoint to supsend nick for smoking weed 8 days before the fight because it had realistically 0 affect on the fight or the safety of the fighters, I am pretty sure Kizer is going to use this argument as his hook to save face…there is no way that prideful man will ever admit that he did something wrong…

  • agentsmith

    The Vancouver Athletic Commission says he’s correct.  But that’s Vancouver.

  • G Funk
  • CAP

    Interesting angle. They may have a case only because of his “use exemption”. But I can also see the commission staying firm on the suspension. You never know what the hell they are gonna do.

  • SHORT_BUS

    The NSAC is bull headed and I don’t see them bending on this issue. When’s the last time they admitted they were wrong on something?

  • frickshun

    This is awesome. I hope Nick wins. He’s STILL an idiot though.

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