The Olympics haven’t even started yet but may already have their worst story given U.S. sprinting star Sha’Carri Richardson’s dreams of competing are in serious doubt following a failed drug test for marijuana. Of course what she did was against the rules, however, that doesn’t make the situation feel less wrong.
Let me start by stating we are all responsible for our personal actions and Richardson admittedly was aware she was in violation of World Anti-Doping Agency and US Anti-Doping Agency policy, so she doesn’t have a legitimate gripe under the current system by the letter of the law.
But sometimes an event like this should be used as the impetus to change an outdated rule that frankly seems dumb. The Olympics take place in Tokyo but the test in question came at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Oregon, a state on the growing list, including the one I’m in right now, that have legalized the recreational use of cannabis.
And it’s not like we’re talking about some performance enhancer here. I think it’s safe to say most people’s experiences with weed have never led to them winning the 100-meters.
Also, Richardson cited her use as a way to deal with learning of her biological mother’s death and had she decided to cope with alcohol instead, which is objectively more harmful for you than marijuana, she would be all set to race given that leaves your system quicker and was removed from the prohibited list.
Overall, I understand what she did merits disqualification, I just don’t understand why. Because it seems extreme for marijuana to keep Sha’Carri Richardson from an Olympic medal. Let her run.