Amid a media scandal and U.S sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s tweet, stating: “I am Human,” a 30-day suspension was confirmed at NBC’s “Today Show”—meaning the athlete will miss the Olympic Games, which are set to begin in August.
She tested positive last month at the U.S. trials, where the young athlete stood out as an expected challenger for Olympic gold after winning the 100 m in 10.86 seconds. The 21-year-old Texan sprinter was on her way to become the first American woman to obtain the 100 m gold since Gail Devers in 1996 after a 10.72-second performance in April, one of her five times under 11 seconds this season.
On January 1st, 2020, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published a new list of prohibited substances in competition and declared that pro sports players will not be sanctioned for the use of cannabis to relieve pain as long as the medication used (which may be in the form of oil, vapes, tincture or cream) does not contain THC, the psychoactive compound of marijuana. In this case, if Richardson can prove that her use is not related with her athletic performance, she will receive a 3-month suspension instead of a 4-year ban as provided for by WADA’s regulations.
A 30-day ban from the date Richardson tested positive may allow the sprinter to compete in the 4×100 Olympic relay on August 6th, if the athlete is selected by U.S.A. Track & Field (USATF).
But there is still one relay race before her sanction is applied. Richardson may also appeal any sanction before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), as well as any other sports entity that may consider punishment grossly excessive.
“I apologise for the fact that I didn’t even know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time. We all have our different struggles. We all have our different things we are dealing with,” the athlete spoke out during the TV show last Friday, claiming she had to put on a face to hide her pain. “Who am I to tell you how to cope? Who am I to tell you that you’re wrong for hurting?”
Athletes such as the most decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps, or the fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, admitted smoking weed, debunking the preconceived idea that cannabis ruins your sports career.
The challenge faced by cannabis-related entities and associations is to achieve legal reforms that help each country introduce education and research policies concerning this plant and its uses, as well as safe access to CBD in all its forms with laws that favour those patients who need it and sportspeople who prefer cannabis over other kinds of drugs when dealing with stress and fatigue—which are naturally triggered during strenuous competitions.