Sha’Carri Richardson: US sprinter sparks WADA review of cannabis ban for athletes

Sha'Carri Richardson

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will review whether cannabis should still be classed as a banned substance while competing.

This move comes in the wake of Sha'Carri Richardson accepting a one month ban from competing after testing positive for the substance, causing her to miss the Tokyo Olympics.

The sprinter was set to represent the USA in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay this summer and her ban sparked a lot of debate on social media.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) received huge backlash from sporting stars including NFL's Odell Beckham Jr and Damian Lillard of the NBA, who were all fighting Richardson's corner. 

After accepting the ban, the sprinter took to social media with a simple response.

"I am human," she wrote on her Twitter.

It was later revealed Richardson had used cannabis as a way to help cope with the death of her biological mother. The 21-year-old admitted she was "blinded by hurt" after learning of her passing just days before the US Olympics trials began.

During the trials, Richardson clocked the then sixth-fastest women's time in history at the semi-finals before going on to win the 100m final.

USADA has since expressed sympathy towards Richardson and accepted the substance used was performance enhancing, however they were still obliged to follow official WADA rules.

Sha'Carri Richardson

"Following receipts of requests from a number of stakeholders", the anti-doping agency is reviewing whether cannabis should remain on the list of banned substances.

Should the decision be overturned, the new guidelines will not come into play until after 2022, meaning the substance will still be prohibited until that time.

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