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by Shane Stokes
December 8, 2017
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The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced Thursday that cyclist Jay Henderson, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has accepted a six-month sanction for an anti-doping rule violation. Henderson was selected to submit a sample as a result of being among the top finishers in his event at the 2017 Green Acres Cyclocross in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He was subject to testing under USA Cycling’s RaceClean Program.
Henderson, 46, tested positive for THC, a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, as a result of a urine sample collected in-competition on October 14, 2017. THC is a Specified Substance in the class of Cannabinoids and prohibited in-competition under the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Cannabis is not prohibited out of competition. On its website, USADA explains that, “because cannabis is prohibited only in-competition, many athlete inquiries to USADA ask how long cannabis will remain in their system following ‘recreational use’ out-of-competition. This is an extremely complex question to answer, and USADA cannot make estimates for athletes. As an elite athlete who is subject to rules of sport, including anti-doping rules, the easiest answer is not to ingest cannabis in the first place.”
It added that the clearance time can vary between individuals, and depends on factors such as metabolism rate and the buildup of the substance in fatty tissue. It said the quality, potency and concentration of the product are also factors, and that it could take ‘weeks or months’ to clear.
Henderson accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on November 13, 2017, the date he accepted a provisional suspension. Based on Henderson’s successful completion of a USADA anti-doping educational tutorial, his period of ineligibility was reduced by three months and is now scheduled to expire on February 12, 2018. In addition, Henderson has been disqualified from competitive results obtained on October 14, 2017, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.