The rules on marijuana for international athletes “must change,” the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said in a response letter to members of Congress on Friday following the suspension of runner Sha’Carri Richardson over a positive cannabis test. Separately, the White House is now reportedly seeking a meeting with international sports regulators to discuss the possibility of a policy change.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) recently sent a letter to the U.S. athletics governing body on the penalty against Richardson, who admitted to using marijuana in a legal state after learning about her mother’s death. Earlier this week, USADA expressed sympathy for the runner and indicated that it may be time for a reevaluation of the marijuana prohibition—but the latest statement, in a letter to the lawmakers, explicitly calls for a policy change.
At the same time, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is working to secure a meeting with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to discuss enacting reform on the international sports stage. The Financial Times reported on Friday that the government intends to discuss issues “including the timeframe for testing, and the basis for the consideration of cannabis as a performance enhancing drug.”
In its letter to Ocasio-Cortez and Raskin, USADA said it “agrees that Ms. Richardson’s exclusion from the Tokyo Olympic Games is a heartbreaking situation and that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules concerning marijuana must change.”
USADA’s Response Letter to Congressman Raskin and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortezhttps://t.co/D8fg7bGbzO
— USADA (@usantidoping) July 9, 2021
However, the organization said it and WADA are “in very different positions of authority and we sometimes have different views when it comes to what substances are included, or not included, on the WADA Prohibited List and what consequences result from a Positive Test.”
“The anti-doping rules are