Here’s an interesting twist to the Nick Diaz marijuana story.
It turns out Diaz could have possibly avoided the situation altogether had he applied for a therapeutic use exemption for marijuana with the NSAC like other fighters do for testosterone. NSAC executive director Keith Kizer informed Cage Potato of the possibility late this week.
According to Kizer, though, Diaz had another option: coming to the NSAC weeks before fighting and applying for a therapeutic exemption for his marijuana use.
Given that Diaz’ coach and manager, Cesar Gracie, has made a point of saying that Diaz has a legal right to use marijuana in California since a doctor prescribed it to him, one would have expected Diaz to have applied for the exemption with the commission.
But that did not happen Kizer explains, as no one from Diaz’ camp has ever attempted to explain any mitigating circumstances to him about the fighter’s marijuana use or tried to contextualize it to attempt for Nick to granted a therapeutic exemption. “I have no idea what [Diaz’s] marijuana situation is,” Kizer told CagePotato on Thursday. “No one from his camp has ever come to me or the commission and tried to explain it.”
Kizer clarified that no one has actually applied for a use exemption for marijuana before but if his doctor could have convinced the commission that he needed it for medicinal purposes and it wouldn’t have affected his performance in the cage one way or the other, it is possible they would have granted it to him.
But wait, all is not lost! It may seem like a moot point now, but according to Kizer, there’s still a chance Diaz could be granted one retroactively.
Fighters can, in effect, retroactively ask the commission to grant them an exemption for the therapeutic use of certain banned substances, Kizer says. “Sure they can. We’ve had that with athletes before where they come into their hearings and say that they did this or took that, explain mitigating circumstances and argue that they should be allowed to have done so,” he recalls.
I’m not holding my breath that it will happen, but at least Diaz’s counsel has an angle to attack the situation from when they meet with the commission in April. Wouldn’t that be something if he actually got it?
Update: Well scratch that last part. Keith Kizer clarified his statements about potentially granting Nick Diaz a retroactive therapeutic use exemption for marijuana. Apparently the fighter can request it, but it can only result in a reduced suspension or fine, not a full exemption after the fact.
*Correction made at 1:23 pm ET on 02/17/2011: Mr. Kizer contacted CagePotato.com to clarify that although a fighter can argue that he or she should be granted an exemption for a banned substance and that their fine and suspension be reduced due to mitigating factors that necessitated the use of the prescribed drugs, NSAC will not retroactively grant a TUE for a substance that was not approved prior to the bout in question.
Bummer. Sorry for the confusion.