Health: Marijuana Prohibition in the Olympics?

The Story:

Sha’Carri Richardson, arguably the fastest woman in Earth, will not be participating in the Olympics that open in Tokyo, Japan, on July 26. The games will be the lesser for it. Why will she not participate? Because, as was reported on July 1, she has flunked a drug test. Her blood contained THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana.


There are certain substances that are quite reasonably banned by the organizations that sponsor athletic events, even outside of the issue of legality. Generally, they concern themselves with enforcing rules against performance enhancing substances: those that can, for example, cause one runner to move more quickly than her rivals. The idea is that if performance enhancing drugs were allowed, events would become contests between competing teams of chemists, not really events between the athletes involved.

Baseball statistics from the late 1990s, for example, are considered especially suspect in many quarters because so many of the players of that era were “juiced.”

In Pill Form:

The punishment applied to Richardson has created a lot of blow-back because of a general recognition that THC does not enhance performance. There is no reason to disbelieve Richardson’s statements that she smoked marijuana in a state where it is legal, and did so by way of managing her grief over the death of her biological mother.

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