Is THC testing racist? Sha'Carri Richardson's supporters call for ban on practice

Fans rally behind Sha'Carri Richardson who apologized on July 2 for testing positive for THC at the US Olympic trials

                            Is THC testing racist? Sha'Carri Richardson's supporters call for ban on practice
USADA announced that Sha’Carri Richardson has accepted a one-month suspension over failing the drug test (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Sha'Carri Richardson, the winner of the 100m title at the U.S Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon has been banned for a month. She will no longer be running her signature race at the Olympics. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced she tested positive for THC on July 2 following which Richardson accepted the month-long ban. If she is still named to the US Team, Richardson will be cleared in time to run in the 4x100 meter relay which starts on July 30 and will continue till August 8. 

According to the anti-doping agency, Richardson's sample taken on June 19 contained a urinary metabolite of THC, found in cannabis, marijuana, and hashish. "The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels; hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her,” said USADA CEO Travis T Tygart. Richardson apologized after the announcement stating she turned to marijuana as a coping mechanism after her biological mother passed away. Fans are seething over USADA's decision of handing out the ban ahead of Tokyo Olympics, arguing marijuana is legal in Richardson's hometown in Dallas. 


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'Why would they test athletes for weed?' 

According to the USADA, "The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code newly classifies THC as a “Substance of Abuse” because it is frequently used in society outside the context of sport. If an athlete who tests positive for a Substance of Abuse establishes that their use of the substance occurred out of competition and was unrelated to sport performance, the athlete will receive a three-month sanction. However, if the athlete satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment program approved by USADA, the sanction may be further reduced to one month."

"That is so messed up marijuana is legal in more states now than before and will continue to be over time. That girl's mother passed and had marijuana so what. She could’ve chose drugs that was worse than that but choose something that’s legal in eighteen states here," read a tweet. "Why would they test athletes for weed? Is not like it will enhance their physical abilities," noted another irate user. "Things that are legal & medicinal need to be taken off the list. The laws have changed & the protocol needs to follow suit. By this standard, every athlete who had a glass of wine with dinner this week would need to be suspended as well. It's not even an illegal drug in Oregon," wrote another user, showing support for Richardson. 






Some users criticized USADA's practice of testing athletes for THC with a stronger tone. "Since marijuana does NOT enhance your physical performance, why does @usantidoping
test for it? Maybe because, like the difference between powder and rock cocaine sentencing, it’s intended to target POC? Can’t have “the blacks” getting all uppity!" a tweet read. "Drug testing for recreational substances is a vestige of the racist drug war. Marijuana gives you no advantage on the track. People use substances to cope with all sorts of difficult situations and shouldn't be punished for it. We're with you Sha'Carri!" tweeted another. "It’s the way we gotta be thinking deeper about this. drug testing is racist at its core and ppl saw Sha’Carri dominating while also being confident and decided to squash that," read another tweet. "Sha’carri is responsible for her own actions AND testing for weed is stupid/racist. Both things can be true," tweeted another user. 





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