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Cannabis Will Continue to be Prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency

by Therin Miller | September 21, 2022

Despite considerable criticism following the suspension of prominent American runner Sha'Carri Richardson last year, who was ultimately disqualified from competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) plans to keep cannabis on its list of illegal substances for 2023, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cannabis has been widely legalized and accepted in many nations and U.S. states, but if it remains on WADA's list of forbidden substances, professional athletes who must abide by its drug-testing guidelines will still be prohibited from consuming medical or adult-use cannabis.

The Prohibited List Expert Advisory Group of WADA reportedly put cannabis on a draft list of prohibited substances for 2023. It encouraged WADA to continue its ban, stating that the plant fits the requirements for inclusion on the list based on scientific evidence.

After testing positive for cannabis last year, only a few weeks before the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, Richardson, 22, was suspended. She acknowledged using cannabis to cope with the "emotional stress" she felt after her mother's passing. WADA stated that it understood "the circumstances" and praised Richardson for "accepting that the regulations are in place for athletes worldwide." Still, it was unable to overturn her suspension.

However, the incident provoked anger on a global scale, and Richardson received a flood of public, professional-athlete, and political support, especially from American lawmakers. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) (D-NY). In the end, WADA had stated in September of last year that the organization would examine its anti-cannabis regulations; however, it currently seems that no changes will be made.


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