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Drug Free Sport New Zealand v Ricky Welsford


Anti-doping – athlete tested positive for metabolites of JWH-018 [JWH-018 N-(5-Hydroxpentanyl) and JWH-018 N-Pentanoic Acid] – synthetic cannabis – Kronic – athlete admitted violation – he and a witness gave evidence they were celebrating a birthday with friends – one of group handed around “roll your own cigarettes” which had synthetic cannabis product Kronic in them – friend said he had bought from a dairy before the sale of Kronic was banned – everyone in group smoking the cigarettes and pressuring athlete to do so – athlete not keen but succumbed to peer pressure (“to shut us up so we could leave him alone” according to witness) and took some puffs from cigarette – did not realise that Kronic contained a product banned in sport – Tribunal had to assess the degree of fault in all the circumstances of the case including: athlete’s age (19 at the time of the test); peer group of friends pressuring him; possibly failure to immediately recognise that Kronic is likely to have the same consequence as cannabis; immediate acceptance of responsibility and his openness and honesty; the fact that this violation is out of character; his contribution to his club as coach; and loss of his Olympic qualifying chances (not nominated for Oceania Championships due to being provisionally suspended for the positive test) – these factors justified a reduction from the usual starting point of 4 months’ suspension for cannabis violation – 3 months’ suspension appropriate in all circumstances.

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