On Feb 9 it was announced that Nick Diaz's UFC 143 drug test flagged for marijuana metabolites. Diaz was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commision (NSAC) on Feb. 22 pending a disciplinary hearing.
An extended back and forth ensued between Diaz’s attorney, Ross C. Goodman of Goodman Law Group, and Nevada Deputy Attorney General Christopher Eccles, with several points of contention, including the length of time during which a hearing must be given, Diaz's pre-fight medical questionnaire, and Diaz's medical marijuana card.
Goodman argued that Diaz's use of marijuana in California was legal, that he had stopped using marijuana over a week before the fight, and that the metabolites were inactive.
The NSAC further cited that Diaz checked 'no' when asked about his recent use of either prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, and 'no' when asked if he suffered from any serious medical conditions.
Goodman countered that medical marijuana is neither a prescription nor an over-the-counter drug, and that the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder for which Nick Diaz has been diagnosed is not a serious medical condition.
A further marijuana-related dispute was whether Diaz does or does not hold a California Medical Marijauana Card.
“On several occasions, you told me and Mr. Kizer that Mr. Diaz had a medical marijuana card,” Eccles wrote to Goodman. “You agreed to produce the card prior to the disciplinary hearing. I’ve waited for more than a month for the card.. You have chosen not to provide the requested documents, including Mr. Diaz’s card. If Mr. Diaz does not have the card, simply confirm that in writing. As to the relevance of the documents I requested for production, it is the Commission that will ultimately decide what is relevant.”
Goodman countered that legal medical marijuana use in California does not require a Medical Marijuana Card.
“Mr. Diaz agreed to produce the required documentation to prove that he is lawfully entitled to use medical marijuana under the laws of California. (My office) responded to the request for an Identification Card by providing two Physician’s Statements from Dr. Sullivan. As the (NSAC) should know, the Physician’s Statements (not an identification card) constitute the “written documentation” required to qualify Mr. Diaz to legally engage in the medical use of marijuana. In addition, Dr. Sullivan explained that after examining Mr. Diaz and reviewing medical records as required by California law, he rendered a ‘professional opinion’ evidencing that medical use of marijuana is appropriate to treat ADHD."
A third point of contention was the length of time before the hearing was held.
“As a protection against arbitrarily delaying proceedings -- as evidenced in the Diaz matter -- and thereby depriving licensees of the right to earn a living, the (NSAC) is required to make a final determination based on the allegations of the complaint within 45 days after a temporary suspension.”
Under this interpretation, the hearing should have taken place by April 6. Eccles countered that a 45-day hearing window did not apply.
“No Notice of Summary Suspension was ever served on your client. In this matter, Mr. Diaz was properly served with a ‘Notice of Hearing on Temporary Suspension,’ and he failed to appear at that hearing. The Commission temporarily suspended Mr. Diaz at the hearing. Neither Mr. Diaz nor you objected in any manner to the temporary suspension.”
After now several rounds of legal sparring, Goodman countered yet again
“In discussions with Mr. Kizer, following the Summary Suspension Order, Mr. Kizer informed me and others that this matter would be placed on the NAC’s agenda,” Goodman wrote. “Our client was and is confident that there is no basis for disciplinary action against him and therefore did not object to a delay beyond the required 45-day time limit as long as the matter was heard and determined in April.”
As of this hour, the NSAC plans to hold Diaz’s hearing at a later date.
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