According to a Wall Street Journal report, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is set to keep cannabis on its list of banned substances for 2023.
An advisory group has been considering its inclusion on the list over the past year, after the disqualification of US sprint champion Sha’Carri Richardson from the Tokyo Olympics sparked debate over whether the substance should be banned for sportsmen.
A draft list, which will be finalized with WADA’s Executive Committee at its Sept. 23 meeting, still includes cannabis, according to the WSJ. Cannabinoids are classified as substances of abuse, along with cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. A positive out-of-competition test is punishable by a three-month suspension, which can be reduced to one month if the athlete follows a treatment program. The previous sentence, which was reduced by WADA last year, came with a two- to four-year suspension from competition.
Richardson was the star of the US Olympic Trials last summer when she won the 100m final in 10.86, revealing after the race that she had recently lost her mother.
After the race, she tested positive for THC. She later said she used cannabis to cope with the news of her mother’s death. The month-long suspension meant that she could not compete in the Tokyo Olympics. His suspension caught the attention of many professional athletes, celebrities and politicians. U.S. Representatives Jamie Raskin and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez have written a letter to WADA and USADA leaders asking them to reconsider penalties for recreational cannabis use.
Cannabis is also legal in Oregon, where the US Olympic trials were held.
The Dutch anti-doping committee has called for the removal of cannabis from the list of prohibited substances. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has pushed for cannabis to undergo scientific scrutiny, but according to WADA, the agency has not called for its outright removal.
“For nearly a decade, USADA has advocated for the AMA to change its approach to cannabis so that a positive test would not constitute a violation unless it was used intentionally to enhance performance or endanger the health or safety of competitors,” Travis Tygart, director general of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), told the WSJ.