(Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Track star and LSU standout Sha'Carri Richardson has been suspended from competition for one month after a the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced today that she had recently tested positive for THC. This positive test will by rule invalidate her qualifying victory in the 100-meter race at the U.S. Track and Field trials. Leaving her hopes for Olympic Gold in Tokyo only possible for a spot on 4x100 meter relay team, should she be selected to the U.S. team.
Richardson took responsibility for the results, saying that she had recently smoked cannabis to cope with the lost of her mother which she found out about from a reporter while doing an interview at the Olympic trials in Oregon. Sha'Carri has apologized to fans, her family, and her sponsors by saying, "I greatly apologize if I let you guys down, and I did."
She told reporters, "I just say, don't judge me and I am human -- I'm you, I just happen to run a little faster."
While the U.S.A. Track & Field Team statement and sentiments seem noble, the United States of America's policy on cannabis use is wrong and hypocritical. Medical marijuana use is legal in 36 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Schedule I status of cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act continues to have ramifications both here and on the world stage. Many professional sports leagues have come to terms with the medicinal value of marijuana for its athletes and have begun to relax their policies, yet we are far from a world where athletes can utilize cannabis without penalty or ridicule.
For those who are calling for Richardson to be banned from competition and running to clichés like, "She should have known better", I say stop masking your racism as patriotism for the US Olympic Team. We have seen much in the way over the years of proud black athletes being stripped of medals or barred from competitions due to arbitrary rules whose only purpose is to create barriers for athletes of color. The War on Drugs has always had a racist intent and it has infected every aspect of American life to create barriers for those caught on the wrong side of the "law".
Fastest Man in the Water - Smokes Marijuana Fastest Man on Land - Smokes Marijuana
Furthermore, the hypocrisy that marijuana use should somehow disqualify an athlete is ludicrous. Marijuana is medicine for both the body and mind. And, for all those indoctrinated souls who believe it bad for you, may I remind you the fastest man on land and the fastest man on water both smoke marijuana. And, they both have enough gold medals to dispel any negative impact on their performance.
Join with the members of Suncoast NORML and NORML chapters from across the nation as we demand an end to marijuana testing of Olympic athletes. Take action and sign this petition by clicking here. Let Richardson Run!
By Christopher C. Cano, MPA