Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

NORML Statement on Sha’Carri Richardson Potential Olympic Disqualification

WASHINGTON -

Athlete Sha’Carri Richardson has been suspended and barred from running in the Olympic Games in Tokyo after testing positive for marijuana. Following the reporting of her suspension from competition, NORML issued the following statements:

"In the past, it has never made too much sense for marijuana use outside of competition to be a disqualifying factor for athletes. In 2021, at a time when marijuana use is legally accepted in a growing number of US states and around the world, it makes exactly zero sense for regulators to continue to take punitive actions against athletes like Sha'Carri Richardson or anyone else who chooses to consume cannabis in their off-hours,” commented NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Sha'Carri Richardson, like millions of her fellow Americans, turned to cannabis’ therapeutic benefits to help her cope with the tragic loss of her mother. To use this as a rationale for denying this athlete, who is otherwise competing at the top of her sport, the ability to represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics should be an unacceptable outcome in this situation. Let Richardson race.”

While in this situation it was determined Richardson’s marijuana consumption did not occur immediately prior to any of her competitions, more broadly marijuana as a substance has never demonstrated notable performance-enhancing qualities.

"While a growing number of athletes have reported turning to cannabis and its components as an alternative to certain prescription drugs (e.g., opioids), there exists no scientific consensus that the acute effects of marijuana enhance athletic performance. It is also highly unlikely that top-level athletes are consuming cannabis prior to taking part in athletic competitions,” stated NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano, “Unfortunately, conventional drug screening can only identify the presence of past marijuana use — which may be indicative of exposure some days, weeks, or even months beforehand. In other words, these tests are more about identifying those who may choose to consume cannabis in their off-time to relax rather than they are about identifying athletes seeking an unfair competitive advantage.”

###

Since its founding in 1970, NORML has provided a voice in the public policy debate for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition and favor an end to the practice of arresting marijuana consumers. A nonprofit public-interest advocacy group, NORML represents the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who use marijuana responsibly.

Protesting Fuel Poverty, People Tell UK Government to 'Keep Everyone Warm This Winter'

As energy bills—and fossil fuel profits—continue to soar, demonstrators around Britain demanded immediate action from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and members of Parliament.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·


EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·


Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo