USA Track And Field Team Says Marijuana Punishments ‘Should Be Reevaluated’ Following Richardson Suspension

MJ moment

A positive marijuana test cost star U.S. runner Sha’Carri Richardson a shot at a key Olympic race this month. And now the nation’s governing body on track and field is saying international policy on cannabis punishments athletes “should be reevaluated.” The new statement from USA Track & Field (USATF) comes shortly after Team USA declined to place Richardson in another event, the 4×100 relay, that would have fallen outside of the 30-day probationary period imposed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). It’s a move that advocates view as unnecessarily punitive, and USATF seems to agree that policies need to change, even if it’s currently unwilling to amend its own internal rules to make an exception in this case. “First and foremost, we are incredibly sympathetic toward Sha’Carri Richardson’s extenuating circumstances and strongly applaud her accountability—and will offer her our continued support both on and off the track,” USATF said. “While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games.” While that won’t change circumstances for Richardson—who admitted to using cannabis in a legal state after learning about the death of her biological mother—it’s a significant statement that echoes calls from fans, advocates and lawmakers alike who have condemned the suspension. “All USATF athletes are equally aware of and must adhere to the current anti-doping code, and our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances,” USATF said. “So while our heartfelt understanding lies with Sha’Carri, we must also maintain fairness for all of the athletes who attempted to realize their dreams by…

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