Joseph Schooling Banned From Competition After Confessing to Cannabis Use

2016 Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling has been banned from international competition for the remainder of his mandatory National Service (NS) conscript following his confession to cannabis use in May. 

In addition to being an Olympic champion, Schooling is a 3x Olympian and 12x NCAA champion for the Texas Longhorns. Schooling initially received deferment from his national service requirement, but is now currently a member of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). 

As reported by Channel News Asia earlier today, Schooling admitted to taking cannabis while he was overseas on “short-term disruption” from his service to train for and compete at the Southeast Asian Games. Fellow national swimmer Amanda Lim was investigated as well. 

Singapore has extremely strict laws regarding cannabis possession and use. Only recently has medicinal use for only extraordinary circumstances been legalized. Possession or consumption can result in up to 10 years in prison with hefty fines of up to $20,000 attached. In the case of drug trafficking, one may even face the death penalty. 

Schooling’s initial test for controlled substances came back negative, but his confession placed him under investigation. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will manage Schooling’s case as he is a full time serviceman. The SAF consequences for those who confess to using drugs but do not necessarily test positive include being on a SAF-supervised urine test regimen and losing disruption privileges. 

Schooling has issued a public apology for what he calls “a moment of weakness”:

“I demonstrated bad judgment and I am sorry. I made a mistake and I’m responsible for what I’ve done. I will make amends and right what is wrong. I won’t let you down again.”

Recent marijuana-related doping suspensions have generated controversy around cannabis-related regulations.The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) does not completely ban marijuana use, it only bans its use in competition. Track star Sha’Carri Richardson faced a one-month suspension from this rule after a positive test following the 2021 US track and field trials. The positive test invalidated her trial results, thus disqualifying her from competing at the Olympics.

In swimming, Italian sprinter Andrea Vergani and US National Teamer Tate Jackson have served suspensions for marijuana use. Michael Phelps also served a three-month ban for a photograph of him using a bong. That was not an anti-doping suspension, but a “conduct violation”. 

In the cases of Andrea Vergani and Tate Jackson, the suspension came from their respective national anti-doping agencies. The stance on marijuana is softening, as WADA has allowed bans to be reduced to as little as one month. However, organizations like the ISL still maintain a zero-tolerance doping policy, meaning athletes who serve any kind of doping ban would be unable to compete. 

Schooling’s ban does not come from WADA or any other anti-doping agency, rather it is a result of protocol set in place by the Singapore Armed Forces.

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MAC Daddy
24 days ago

I can tell you MAC titles were won at the 1996 Championships by at least two swimmers who smoked between sessions each day of the meet…so not bad.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
24 days ago

now schooling has beaten phelps twice

Guerra
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
23 days ago

That was simply brilliant!

dddddddd
24 days ago

a little off topic but what is it like swimming high if anyone has done it

og swammer
Reply to  dddddddd
24 days ago

pretty fantastic

DThree
Reply to  dddddddd
24 days ago

Awful

great1
Reply to  dddddddd
24 days ago

Not admitting to anything but…

Swimming an intense proper practice high is miserable. You are low energy and sluggish and cannot push yourself the way you would want to.

Swimming just for fun and easy while high is spectacular. Truly a relaxing experience and just overall amazing. Personally I would think about my technique more and the overall mechanics rather than just “work hard”

In case you were wondering
Reply to  dddddddd
24 days ago

Much easier to keep going when the pain creeps in during the main set.

Creed Ko
Reply to  In case you were wondering
24 days ago

So from everyone’s comments, I’m coming to the conclusion that weed is in fact a Performance Enhancing Drug.

Oldandretired
Reply to  dddddddd
24 days ago

I went a best time in my 100 back while mildly baked. Was an experience let me tell ya. Even split it too

Anon
Reply to  dddddddd
24 days ago

It may have been the only time I ever cried in my 18 year swimming career. Not great my dude, not great

swimfast
Reply to  dddddddd
24 days ago

Amazing. You feel super in tune with your muscles/feel very coordinated. Your times aren’t really faster though because your overall cadence is probably slower, but I’m sure your stroke looks prettier

Xman
Reply to  dddddddd
23 days ago

For me it made my injury pain stick out more so I can’t push myself.

Grabbing a floaty and kicking back with a beer is a different story.

anonymous
24 days ago

There are a lot of safety reasons to ban substance abuse in the military.

Teddy
Reply to  anonymous
24 days ago

Unfortunately, the testing makes military service men favour cocaine over weed because it clears your system quicker

They should rethink the weed thing. Especially because it helps with sleep

Anonymous
Reply to  Teddy
24 days ago

Hair test for cocaine should be used.

Jim
24 days ago

Oh who cares!

torchbearer
Reply to  Jim
24 days ago

The Singapore Govt apparently, the rest of us, no!

Cate
Reply to  Jim
18 days ago

And yet, here you are.

D1 swimmer who smokes
24 days ago

He a real one for this ✌️

Teal
Reply to  D1 swimmer who smokes
24 days ago

Bro there are a lot of you out there ( d1 swimmers who smoke)

D2 swimmer who smokes
Reply to  Teal
24 days ago

even more in D2 and D3 haha

Coco
24 days ago

What a moron for admitting it

hillbilly
Reply to  Coco
24 days ago

He told on himself! What an idiot

Mr Piano
24 days ago

Absolutely insane. Singapore’s authoritarianism is very said to see, and Schooling should not have to apologize for taking such a substance.

Cate
Reply to  Mr Piano
18 days ago

Unless you are a citizen of Singapore, it’s none of your business. If you ever travel abroad you might want to remember that the way other countries handle their business is none of yours, either.