World Anti-Doping Agency to Review Marijuana after suspension of sprinter

Anti-Doping Agency to Review Marijuana’s Status after Richardson Suspension

An advisory group to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will review the ban on marijuana for athletes after the suspension of sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who tested positive for cannabis following a race.

A test showed marijuana compounds in Richardson’s system after she won a race in preparation for the Olympic Games. She was given a 30-day suspension and was not allowed to compete in the Olympics. The review to reexamine the science on cannabis and whether it should continue to be prohibited will take place next year, which means the ban will remain during 2022. 

Richardson herself has said she’s hopeful her suspension will lead to an international policy change for athletes and she would be “blessed” if that happens as a result of her punishment.

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“I am pleased with the decisions that were taken today by the Executive Committee on a range of key topics,” World Anti-Doping Agency President Witold Bańka said in a news release after the meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. “These will help further strengthen the global anti-doping program and the protection of clean sport. In particular, the decisions made by the committee in relation to compliance, the 2022 Prohibited List and in a number of science-related areas will prove to be important for the continued success of the system and for the good of athletes around the world.”

WADA’s marijuana policy came under fire after Richardson’s suspension. Richardson, a top Olympic contender, said she used cannabis to help cope with the death of her mother, and her suspension sparked an outpouring of sympathy and calls for a review of anti-doping rules. Even President Joe Biden questioned whether the rules should remain in place and said he was proud of the way Richardson responded after her suspension.

Richardson herself has said she’s hopeful her suspension will lead to an international policy change for athletes and she would be “blessed” if that happens as a result of her punishment. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has expressed sympathy for Richardson and asserted that the rules on marijuana for international athletes “must change.” USA Track & Field—like President Biden and the USADA—also suggested it may be time for a reevaluation of the cannabis prohibition.

The review comes at a time when U.S. states and some countries have legalized recreational use of cannabis by adults while others are considering changes to their policies.

This piece was originally published by Marijuana Moment and has been edited or modified by The News Station.

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi and now TheNewsStation.com. His full bio is here.

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi and now TheNewsStation.com. His full bio is here.

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