The grueling dog-sled race known as the Iditarod spans 1,150 miles across Alaska, from Anchorage to Nome. Mushers and dog teams travel across treacherous country in sub-zero temperatures, often in the dark. The race, which begins March 6, can take over two weeks. But Iditarod Trail Committee officials have managed to put a dent in all of the fun. This year mushers will be tested for drugs and alcohol—which means three-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey won’t be able to toke up.
Mackey is a throat cancer survivor and holds a medical marijuana card. Additionally, Alaska law allows for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, provided the use occurs at home. Mackey says pot helps him stay alert and focused through the 1,100-mile race, but says it's "ridiculous" to think it gives him an edge. "It’s a dog race, not a human race. It doesn’t affect the outcome of the race,” he says.
Iditarod dogs have long been tested for performance-enhancing drugs, but never humans. Mackey says he’ll give up pot temporarily rather than ask for an exemption: "I’m going to pee in their little cup and laugh in their face.”