Earlier this year, 21-year-old American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was banned from competing in the womens’ 100m race at the Olympics, after testing positive for cannabis during Olympic trials.
The furore surrounding Richardson’s 30 day ban by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which led to her being excluded from the US team entirely from this year’s Tokyo Olympics, has led to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) review on whether cannabis should remain on the banned list.
WADA was established in 1999 as an independent body responsible for monitoring anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries. Their mission statement is “To lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport”. Cannabis is prohibited under their rules, which all athletes have to abide by.
A scientific advisory panel is to be created by the body to review whether cannabis should remain a banned substance. Cannabis is banned by WADA because they say it falls into one of these three categories;
- It poses a health risk to athletes
- It has the potential to enhance performance
- It violates the spirit of the sport
Much of the sympathy that was directed towards Sha’Carri Richardson was due to cannabis being legal for adult consumption in the state where the athlete consumed it, Oregon. However this does not have an impact on the WADA rules.
WADA says the scientific review will begin next year and that cannabis will remain prohibited in 2022, adding that the review is taking place “following receipt of requests from a number of stakeholders”.