DOPING

WADA considers reviewing marijuana status on the list of prohibited substances

In the wake of the American sprinter S. Richardson case, the World Anti-Doping Agency decided to reassess its decision on cannabis as a doping substance.

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WADA considers reviewing marijuana status on the list of prohibited substances

This summer, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has come under scrutiny in one of the biggest pre-Olympic stories during the renowned U.S. track and field Olympic trials in Oregon.

One of the fastest American women sprinters, Sha'Carri Richardson, won the women's 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic trials but returned a positive test for marijuana on the same day. The incident ultimately led to the United States Anti-Doping Agency banning her for a month and the 21-year-old's results at the trials being disqualified, automatically drowning her hopes for Olympic participation.

Richardson said she had ingested marijuana while in Oregon, where the use of this recreational drug is legal, after hearing that her biological mother had died.

The news about the Richardson ban sparked an intense media backlash in the U.S., especially among the professional athletes who showed great support towards the young sprinter, stating that the drug is legal in many American states and decriminalized across much of the world. Even World Athletics President Sebastian Coe and the White House representatives were prepared to question the cannabis ban.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee has endorsed a scientific review into cannabis' status as a banned substance. However, it will remain banned in 2022 while the review initiated by WADA's List Expert Advisory Group is carried out.