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Iditadrug: Of Mackey, mushing and marijuana

mackeyThree-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey may have to mush without marijuana in next year’s race.

Iditarod Trail Committee officials have announced plans to test mushers for drugs and alcohol in March. Officials haven’t decided who will get tested, or when, where and how it will be done. “It might be random. It might be a group of mushers at a specific checkpoint,” said Stan Hooley, executive director of the committee.

Alaska law allows for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, provided the use occurs at home. In addition, Mackey, as a throat cancer survivor, has a medical marijuana card that entitles him to use the drug legally for medical purposes.

Mackey admits marijuana has helped him stay awake and focused through the 1,100-mile race, but he insists it doesn’t give him an edge.

“It isn’t the reason I’ve won three years in a row,” Mackey told the Anchorage Daily News. “I think it’s a little bit ridiculous,” he said of the new policy. “It is a dog race, not a human race. It doesn’t affect the outcome of the race.”

While Iditarod dogs have long been tested for a lengthy list of prohibited substances, the humans they are pulling — despite the Iditarod having had an informal drug and alcohol policy since 1984 — never have.

Mackey doesn’t blame the Iditarod board for creating the new policy, but he contends he is being targeted by other mushers jealous of his three straight Iditarod titles.

Despite his medical marijuana clearance, Mackey said he will not pursue a therapeutic use exemption; instead, he’ll just abstain for a while.

“I’m going to pee in their little cup,” he said. “And laugh in their face.”


Comment from Brent in KY
Time December 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I believe what he said that there are some that are upset at his three wins and they are putting pressure on the board.

How many of them are cancer survivers? How many of them take medication for whatever, and will they be alowed to take it while racing? How may of them truly believe marijuana is a performance enhancer? or Is this just more BS over marijuana and its consumers?

Lastly, I understand why he is willing pee for the board, but at the same time being a medical user shouldnt it be looked at more like a medical need? What he should do is what he has done, use his medicine how he wants, Win the Race, then, Make them take the Win away. At least your proving what so many have been saying for years, that marijuana is medicine and should be tolerated just like asprin or a presciption from a doctor.

Its so sad, the lies about people being unmotivated and lazy that use marijuana, yet now they say they use it to compete or as a performance inhancer. You cant have it both ways and thats the point that needs to be made. Its all lies. They say it makes people violent or was it a zombie, it cant be both.

Comment from LLLou
Time December 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm

How stupid

Comment from jim
Time December 8, 2009 at 4:22 pm

He should smile at the cup and pee in their faces.

Comment from Logos
Time December 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm


So, if someone has a prescription for vicodin, will they have to abstain from it’s use during the race? Because I could see that as being a performance enhancing drug… Bet it isn’t even on the list…

Comment from moldy
Time December 8, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Sad! What about the dogs? If they see him smoking pot they might get ideas. If a bear craps in the woods does…

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time December 8, 2009 at 10:44 pm

John, isn’t this the fellow who bought the elephant treadmill after somebody up there grew a brain and decided to send the poor elephant to an appropriate climate??? And wasn’t he going to exercise his dogs on the elephant treadmill and invite people to come and watch???? They must grow some powerful doobage up there in the 49th State. After recent events in the non-canine as well as the canine arena, I’m beginning to think it may have contaminated their water supply…

Ann, No that was four-time Iditarod winner Martin Buser.

Comment from Joe from NORTH POLE AK
Time December 9, 2009 at 4:43 am

the rest of them are just mad he wouldnt slow down enough to let them have a toke. next time leave them a trail of brownie crumbs your#1 FAN Joe

Comment from Mike Stroup
Time December 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Anyone who would willingly be outside in that kind of weather should be tested. And if they don’t have enough drugs in their system, they should be forced to take more until they realize it is real cold outside and they shouldn’t be there.