Sha’Carri Richardson – Wrongfully Punished for Smoking Weed

Sha’Carri Richardson is an American sprinter for the US team. Her primary events are the 100m dash and the relay. Just last month Richardson won the 100m dash securing her spot for the Tokyo Olympics. But just the other day this opportunity was put on thin ice.

If you are not familiar with the name Sha’Carri Richardson – you need to be! Sha’Carri Richardson is one of the leading track stars in the United States and was set to attend the 2021 Olympics with presumed great success. Unfortunately, that dream may be cut short.

Who is Sha’Carri Richardson?

Before we tell you about the ridiculous decision made by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in conjunction with the Olympic Games committee it is important that you know who Sha’Carri Richardson is. 

Sha’Carri Richardson is an American sprinter for the US team. Her primary events are the 100m dash and the relay. Just last month Richardson won the 100m dash securing her spot for the Tokyo Olympics. But just the other day this opportunity was put on thin ice. 

Richardson has become a well-known name and face for the US track team due to her important story of dealing with the grief of losing her mother just before the trial run while still training and competing for the Olympics. Sha’Carri Richardson has shown athletes from everywhere around the world that anything is possible. But some people want to put a stop to this. 

Earlier this month it was announced that Richardson had tested positive for cannabis – which is against the Olympic rules. She is to serve a 30-day suspension.

Athletes and Cannabis

There is no one arguing against the concept of testing athletes for substances that perhaps would provide an unfair advantage. There is an argument against testing for substances that provide no advantage – and it does not take a genius to understand that cannabis and running do not mix. 

Instead, the decision to require Richardson to complete a 30-day suspension for smoking weed while she was grieving the loss of her mother is raising many other issues. For example, Seth Rogen tweeted the following, 

“The notion that weed is a problematic “drug” is rooted in racism. It’s insane that Team USA would disqualify one of this country’s most talented athletes over thinking that’s rooted in hatred. It’s something they should be ashamed of. Also if weed made you fast, I’d be FloJo.”

@ SethRogen

Ok – so Seth Rogen isn’t an athlete or scientist, but let’s be serious – the man knows his weed. So the suspension of Richardson not only raises questions about athletes’ access to cannabis which could be beneficial for many reasons but also raises many more questions about the Olympics treatment of Black women. Sha’Carri Richardson is only one Black female who has been a target of unfair policies by the Olympics. 

Richardson should not be punished for using a substance that has proven to be beneficial for so many different reasons, and running is not one of them. Many athletes use cannabis – football players, basketball players, etc. Cannabis can help athletes manage their anxiety, depression, pain recovery and just overall focus. For athletes to be denied this access due to dated ideas about cannabis is unfair. 

With all this talk about self-care going around these days, and cannabis is recognized as one way to self-soothe, why do we not allow athletes to participate? 

Let Richardson Race

When you watch the recording of Richardson winning her 100m dash, you are watching incredible natural athleticism. Someone who has worked hard for her goal, while also experiencing the tremendous trauma of losing a loved one. Sha’Carri Richardson has proven that she is an Olympic athlete. To deem her unfit for the Olympics because of her choice to participate in the legal substance of cannabis is to say that the Olympics is not about true athleticism and more so about image. 

The final decision has yet to be made about whether or not Richardson will compete in the Olympics. At this time the decision as to when the suspension will start could allow her to participate. But the reality is – she is still being punished. Cannabis must be removed from the list of illegal substances that athletes are being tested for. It just makes sense. 

Final Thoughts

While cannabis is legal federally in Canada – it still remains a state-to-state decision in the United States. By recognizing its legal status, we must recognize people’s equal access to its use. Athletes deserve the right to smoke weed if they need to. 

So, while we watch these athletes perform skills that most of us can only dream of, we think it is only fair to also let them puff, puff, pass the same way the rest of us do! 

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