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Utah measure urges IOC to ban drug use

A West Jordan lawmaker is calling on the International Olympic Committee to prohibit athletes from using drugs that are illegal in a majority of nations that participate in the Games.

Rep. Perry Buckner, D-Oquirrh, has introduced a resolution that also urges the IOC to notify competitors of banned substances, tests conducted to detect drug use and the consequences of a positive test, including the loss of a medal.Buckner, a sheriff's deputy and DARE (Drug Abuse and Resistance Education) officer, said he decided to seek a resolution, HR2, after Canadian snowboarder Ross Re-bag-li-ati was temporarily stripped of his gold medal after he tested positive for traces of marijuana.

As a DARE officer, Buckner said he strives to teach students about the dangers of drug use, including marijuana.

"Pot users have tried over time to weaken the perception that marijuana is a dangerous drug. There are 42 chemicals in this particular plant. We do know it is a lot more dangerous than alcohol," he said.

Buckner said he was particularly outraged when Rebagliati got his medal back after the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the IOC Executive Board's decision due to the confusion over rules governing the use of marijuana by Olympic athletes.

Bob Garff, chairman of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, learned of Buckner's intentions during a meeting of the Legislature's Sports Advisory Committee. While he acknowledged that oversight of the Games is "politically layered,' he urged lawmakers to work with SLOC.

Buckner said he meant no offense with the resolution and acknowledges that the IOC knows best how to approach each Olympic sport federation regarding agreements on illegal drug use.

His greatest concern is the message sent to youths following the Rebagliati incident.

The IOC recently charged a committee to develop a policy on the use of marijuana by athletes. It may also consider standards for alcohol consumption.