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U.S. Weightlifting Athlete Ahje Palmer Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

weightlifterUSADA announced today that Ahje Palmer, of Canyon Country, Calif., an athlete in the sport of weightlifting, has accepted a one-month period of ineligibility for an anti-doping rule violation.

Palmer, 43, tested positive for 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (Carboxy-THC), a urinary metabolite of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and hashish, above the urinary Decision Limit of 180 ng/mL, as the result of a sample collected in competition at the Howard Cohen American Masters Weightlifting Championship on November 7, 2021. Cannabis, marijuana, and hashish are Specified Substances in the class of Cannabinoids and are prohibited in competition under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy, and the International Weightlifting Federation Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Under the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code, THC is classified under a special category that allows for a reduced three-month sanction if the athlete establishes that their use of the substance occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance. The sanction may be further reduced to one month if the athlete satisfactorily completes a treatment program approved by USADA. In 2021, WADA announced that in 2022, it would initiate a scientific review of the status of cannabis following requests from a number of stakeholders.

Palmer accepted a one-month period of ineligibility that began on December 15, 2021, the date of his provisional suspension. Palmer’s period of ineligibility was reduced to one month because his use of cannabis occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance, and because he successfully completed a counseling program regarding his use of cannabis.

In addition, Palmer has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to November 7, 2021, the date his positive sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to file and update athlete Whereabouts, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.

In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as an easy-reference wallet card with examples of prohibited and permitted substances, a supplement guide, a nutrition guide, a clean sport handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.

USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by text at 87232 (“USADA”), by email at playclean@usada.org, by phone at 1-877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.


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