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Cannabis bans across sporting events has led several players to the misery of disqualification. One recent example is the story of Sha‘Carri Richardson, the U.S. Track & Field star, who was banned from competing in the 100-meter race in the Olympics. After winning the Olympics trials in Oregon, the athlete was in top form but was disqualified due to traces of cannabis found in her body.

This story and so many others like it struck many people as wrong considering the fact that cannabis is not a performance enhancing drug. Cannabis is, however, still considered such by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – the body in charge of regulations regarding substance abuse in sports. Furthermore, Sha‘Carri clearly stated in her interview that the reason behind cannabis consumption was to free her mind from the stress of losing her mother.

However, recent developments in sports have ignited hope amongst athletes as the WADA may be duly easing its ban on cannabis.

Cannabis Bans May Ease in Sports

A few months after the Sha’Carri incident, WADA stated that cannabis currently falls within the “banned substances” list and will continue to stay there until 2022. However, the organization is in discussion with the Prohibited List Expert Advisory Group, (a group responsible for offering health related guidance to WADA), and has plans to release a scientific review related to cannabis.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the United States Anti-Doping Agency follow the regulations set by WADA. However, WADA takes the statements and concerns of the said entities into account, which may be why it is considering lifting the cannabis ban.

The Outcry

Countless athletes and followers raised their voices in favor of Sha‘Carri after she was banned from competing in the Olympics. Several athletes pointed out that bans related to cannabis have been very inconsistent in the past. Many cannabis advocates believe that it doesn’t make much sense to continue with the undue ban when almost the entire US is on the verge of cannabis legalization.

One of the people who voiced against the ban was a Democrat – Representative Steven Cohen – from Tennessee’s 9th District, who said that cannabis is not a performance-enhancement drug unless it is consumed on the 4th of July in a Hot Dog eating contest.

The Press Secretary of the White House – Jen Psaki – acknowledged the passing of Sha‘Carri’s mother right before the Tokyo Olympics. Psaki said that it is sad to see the fastest woman in the world and a role model for younger girls be disqualified in such a manner following the death of her mother.

The Hope

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is reviewing the prohibition related to cannabis and may soon lift the ban on cannabis consumption in sports. However, in case the cannabis advocates win, they will still have to wait until 2022 to see the new laws in effect.

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