Journey Newson knocked out Domingo Pilarte in 38 seconds on the early prelims at UFC 247 on February 8, 2020 in Houston, Texas. However, Marc Raimondi for ESPN obtained documents from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) showing that the win has been changed to a No Contest. Newson's manager, Jason House of Iridium Sports, told Raimondi the NC was due to a failed drug test. The failure was not for a PED or diuretics, but rather was for the demon weed marijuana.
Newson may, in addition, face a fine and suspension, likely no longer than 90 days.
The USA is undergoing a major shift in how the use of cannabis is viewed. However, many athletic commissions and USADA still test for the use of recreational drugs in competition; that is not unreasonable. If an athlete wants to use alcohol, or for that matter other drugs like cannabis, and even hard drugs, that is no business of the UFC. However, no one should fight high on anything.
A World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) conference in November of 2019 resulted in rational changes to the policy around recreational drugs, or as WADA labels them "substances of abuse." Historically, Cannabinoids (cannabis, hashish, THC, etc), Narcotics (heroin, Fentanyl, Morphine, etc), and Stimulants (Cocaine, MDMA, DMA, etc) have not been prohibited out of competition, but have generally been prohibited during the in-competition window.
However, under the newly ratified policy, if an athlete can demonstrate that the use was out of competition and was not intended for the purposes of performance enhancement, the penalties are notably reduced, potentially to as low as nothing.
USADA immediately instituted the changes into the UFC/USADA Anti-Doping Policy ("ADP"), which now reads:
"When a violation of Articles 2.1 or 2.2 involves a Substance of Abuse and the Athlete can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the violation did not enhance, and was not intended to enhance, the Athlete's performance in a Bout, then, the period of Ineligibility may be reduced or eliminated, as determined by USADA in its sole discretion based upon the Athlete's participation in a rehabilitation program."
So if USADA finds a level of over their 180 ng/ml limit for marijuana metabolites, a fighter is probably fine. But fighters still may be subject to sanction from State, Tribal, Provincial, and Municipal athletic commissions, some of which, including Texas, are not progressive around the issue of recreational drug use.
Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs have a cutoff of 50 ng/mL, a level that indicates use in the last 3-4 days for infrequent users, and perhaps 10 days for heavy users. While Newson's level is not known, the TDLR flags at 15 ng/ml.