World Athletics President Suggests Ban on Cannabis Should Be Reviewe

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has said that the rules governing the use of cannabis by athletes should be reviewed after Sha’Carri Richardson was banned from participating in Tokyo 2020
Written by 
Emma Francis Stone, Ph.D.
|Last Updated:

Sebastian Coe, President of the World Athletics stated on Tuesday (27 July) that he supports a review of cannabis’s status as a doping substance after 100m runner Sha’Carri Richardson was banned from competing.

Richardson, who won the 100 meters at the U.S. trials last month, didn’t travel to Japan for the Tokyo Games after she tested positive for the banned recreational drug during the trials. Richardson accepted a 30-day ban, and the qualifying results she achieved were annulled. The ban expired on Tuesday, allowing her to compete in the 4×100 relay, but she wasn’t selected to run.The 21-year-old said she had been under emotional stress after learning of the recent death of her biological mother.

Coe has said that the absence of Richardson was “a loss to the competition”, and that he wants to ensure what happened won’t knock another athlete out of the Olympics in the future. Coe was at the Olympic trials in Oregon, when Richardson won the 100m race in 10.86 seconds. The victory left her poised for a 100m duel with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, one of track’s most anticipated events.

The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code identifies tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis, as a “substance of abuse”. Athletes found to use cannabis outside of competition face a three-month ban. In this case, the United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Richardson for 30 days on the provision that she also undertook a treatment program.

Dr. Emma F. Stone is passionate about plant medicine and the potential it holds in transforming the current medical paradigm. She has written extensively for Leafly, Weedmaps, Flowertown, Psychedelic Science Review, and contributed to industry reports and fact sheets detailing cannabis medicine, dosage, and delivery methods for diverse conditions. She’s currently working on a book exploring plant medicine and its uses.

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