The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has addressed sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s controversial suspension for a positive marijuana test in a new letter to lawmakers.
The agency said it wants to mitigate such “harsh consequences” but can’t change the rules unilaterally.
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Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) asked the USADA to end Richardson’s suspension, and the agency responded to their objections over Richardson’s one-month suspension.
Richardson won the 100 at the Olympic trials on June 19 with a time of 10.86 seconds. Her ban is for 30 days, meaning she can’t return until July 27. The Tokyo Olympics start on July 23, OutKick’s Sam Amico reported.
The USADA leaders called it “heartbreaking” that she’ll now miss the Olympics and said that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s “rules concerning marijuana must change,” but said the agency “does not make or have a direct vote on the anti-doping rules” and is “required to enforce them.”
The USADA said in its letter that “most governments in the world have been very reluctant to take marijuana off the prohibited list for public health reasons,” Yahoo Sports reports.
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But the USADA says the “rules addressing cannabis and cannabinoids should be more flexible and fair,” and that it would like to “go still further in mitigating the harsh consequences of a positive marijuana case in a situation like Ms. Richardson’s.”
Richardson was suspended for 30 days over the positive marijuana test, keeping her from the 100-meter race at the Olympics, but it was later confirmed she would miss the Olympics entirely after she wasn’t selected for the United States’ Olympic 4×100 relay team.
Richardson told Today she takes “responsibility for my actions,” while explaining that she used marijuana legally to help cope with the loss of her mother. Yahoo Sports reports that after Richardson accepted the 30-day suspension, the USADA said “there is no longer any legal process to challenge it or to reverse it.”
AOC and Raskin had previously urged the USADA to reconsider Richardson’s suspension and “strike a blow for civil liberties and civil rights by reversing this course you are on.”
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