New eSports Anti-Doping Policy Bans Marijuana

Because everybody knows video games are best played sober

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Last month, the Electronic Sports League announced it would create its first anti-doping policy following a high-profile admission of Adderall use during competition. Yesterday, The Guardian reports, the E.S.L. released the policy, which includes an unlikely target: marijuana.

The policy, which the ESL posted on Reddit, gives a whole subheading to the question on everyone’s minds: “Is [ESL] prohibiting the usage of marijuana?”

During the competition, we are. Marijuana is on the list of prohibited substances for during the competition. This means that recreational use of it outside (before) the event days will not be punished. Using it during the tournament — from the start of the first day until the end of the last day of competition — is strictly prohibited.

The stimulant ban makes sense — they help the gamers — but weed, one thinks, would be detrimental to performance. Chances are, in a sport of rapid-fire reflexes and heavy concentration, you may not want to be stoned and subsequently distracted with the thought of sideline snacks.

In fairness, the E.S.L. clearly allows recreational use outside of competition, in stark contrast to the N.F.L., for example, which believes the league must maintain its strong American integrity. Perhaps the E.S.L. is image-building with its weed ban, presenting itself as a real sport with real consequences. After all, Winners Don’t Use Drugs.

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