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Sha'Carri Richardson Banned From Olympics for Cannabis

H. Scott Prosterman: The hypocrisy of cannabis prohibition results from a misapplication of good intentions, and a power structure wedded to archaic notions that have been debunked by science.
cannabis

Cannabis is “legal” in some form in all but six American states. It is recognized for having medical efficacy for a variety of issues.

Sha’Carri Richardson is one of the best sprinters in the world, and was in line to contend for a Gold Medal in the 100M and 4x100 Relay. She lost her place on the US Olympic 100M team because she tested positive for cannabis after the recent Olympic Trials. This is because the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) STILL considers marijuana to be a banned substance with “performance enhancing qualities?” That the US Olympic team did not include her in the 4x100 Relay pool is baffling, considering she would have served her 30-day suspension and been eligible. Why is the US Olympic team toadying to WADA? Or is this driven by the agenda of the Olympic corporate sponsors?

The rise in performance-enhancing drugs in sports is indeed a problem. WADA is the global organization charged with policing drug-free sports, and wields unaccountable power over athletes, trainers, doctors, coaches and games organizers. Their “core values” are “integrity, openness and excellence.” WADA has three categories of prohibited substances: 1.) At all times; 2.) In competition; 3.) In particular sports. The banned substances for “In competition” include stimulants, narcotics, glucocorticoids and cannabis. No athlete is allowed to use speed or meth, pain killers or anything that impacts metabolic and cardiovascular functions, or can dramatically reduce inflammation (Glucocorticoids). Then there is cannabis, along with these obvious performance-enhancers, masking agents and pain killers. No, smoking reefer doesn’t necessarily induce “couch lock” or a ravenous appetite for junk food, but it has ZERO performance enhancing qualities, other than reducing anxiety in some. There is a huge spectrum of cannabis strains, which are effective for a variety of medicinal needs. And what’s good for one patient may be toxic for another.

The hypocrisy of cannabis prohibition results from a misapplication of good intentions, and a power structure wedded to archaic notions that have been debunked by science.

The North American phone number for WADA has an outgoing message that sounds like Dutch or some Northern European language I’m not familiar with. I left a message and sent an email. I often get frustrated with the horrible internal and external communications of corporations and public agencies in the US, and I hire out as a professional communications consultant in the SF Bay Area. So it drives me nuts to see that their North American service line isn’t in English, Spanish or French; the primary languages spoken in North America.

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No one should have to make excuses or apologize for smoking reefer, especially in the aftermath of the death of one’s mother. After she won the 100M at the NCAA Championships last month, Sha’Carri walked up the grandstand to her family and adoptive mother, and cried in her arms for a few minutes. The woman was in obvious emotional pain, while in a moment of great elation and accomplishment at the same time. There IS crying in Track and Field, and every sport in which an athlete and family invest themselves. Cannabis has many medicinal efficacies, including being a useful emotional salve.

Richardson handled this horribly unfair indignation with the utmost grace. She “apologized” in a manner that accepted accountability, and should be an example to people who SHOULD apologize: "This is just one Games. I'm 21, I'm very young. ... I have plenty of Games left in me to compete in and I have plenty of talent that backs me up, because everything I do comes from me naturally. No steroid, no anything. This incident was about marijuana, so after my sanction is up I'll be back and able to compete, and every single time I step on the track I'll be ready for whatever anti-doping agency to come and get what it is that they need.” However, no one should have to make excuses or apologize for smoking reefer, especially in the aftermath of the death of one’s mother. Several years ago I wrote this.

The hypocrisy of cannabis prohibition results from a misapplication of good intentions, and a power structure wedded to archaic notions that have been debunked by science. The seat of this hypocrisy is the United States Congress, which has resisted removing cannabis from the list of Schedule I drugs in service to the tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical industries. It’s also in deference to the private prison system, which was one of Ronald Reagan’s many destructive legacies in America. All of the above is also driven by racism and the Republican agenda to lock up as many black people as possible for whatever reason can be conjured.

scott prosterman

WADA won’t change its archaic standards until prompted by Congress. The 1980 Olympic Boycott was a huge factor in Jimmy Carter’s 1980 defeat, (as was Reagan and Oliver North’s treasonous dealings with Iran to keep Americans imprisoned in service to Reagan’s becoming president.) Wouldn’t it be grand if keeping America’s best female sprinter off the Olympic team becomes the catalyst for federal cannabis reform? And what about WADA’s “integrity” thing?

H. Scott Prosterman