WADA is reviewing cannabis rule following Sha’Carri Richardson’s ban


Just months after U.S. 100-meter champion Sha’Carri Richardson lost her spot at the Tokyo Olympics for a positive cannabis test, the World Anti-Doping Agency planned to review the drug’s status as a banned substance .

WADA announced Tuesday that an advisory group would conduct a scientific study to see if marijuana should remain banned. The study is scheduled to take place in 2022. The drug remains on the prohibited list in the meantime.

“After receiving inquiries from a number of stakeholders, the (Executive Committee) approved the List Expert Advisory Group’s decision to initiate a scientific review of the status of cannabis in 2022,” said a WADA statement, according to AFP. “Cannabis is currently banned from competition and will remain so in 2022.”

Will Sha’Carri Richardson’s Olympic ban lead to a revision of international cannabis regulations? (AP Photo / Ashley Landis)

Richardson’s ban sparked calls for change

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspended Richardson from competing for one month from June 28th after revealing its positive test, citing WADA regulations. It also stripped her of her 100-meter title at the US Olympic Trials and banned her from participating in the Tokyo event. USA Track & Field eventually dropped her off the Olympic squad instead of inviting her to compete in the 4×100 relay that took place after her suspension ended.

Richardson admitted using cannabis in the days leading up to the June 19 Olympics. Her suspension sparked widespread outrage and called for a review of the rules banning cannabis in international competition that came as high as the White House and USADA.

Critics argued that the drug is legal or decriminalized in several US states and countries around the world and is not a performance booster. Richardson tested positive in Oregon, where cannabis is legal. USADA CEO Travis Tygart called Richardson’s situation “heartbreaking” while noting that “the rules are clear”.