The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has finally issued a reply in an effort to give push back against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) statements that she made about Olympic athlete Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension surround the upcoming Olympic Games for her use of marijuana.
As reported earlier this past month, Sha’Carri Richardson, who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics last month, was suspended from the Olympic team after testing positive for THC. According to The Associated Press, her final results from the Olympic trials have been removed from the standings, effectively making her ineligible for the 100-meter race in the Tokyo Games.
As stated in a release directed at Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the anti-doping agency noted that it was making these statements in reply to a letter sent by the aforementioned representatives back on July 2nd, 2021. The release was signed by a former international-level athlete and president of WADA, Witold Banka.
The release stated, “Since 2007, nearly 200 governments, including the U.S., have ratified the Convention to coordinate the fight against doping in sport and explicitly support WADA’s mission for doping-free sport.”
The WADA then went on to explain in detail how it goes about making any such decisions in regards to its guidelines. “Since 2004, annually, WADA has published the Prohibited List, which identifies the substances prohibited in- and out-of-competition, and in particular sports,” it continued.
The agency reiterated the point that for anything to be included on the Prohibited List, ” substance must satisfy any two of the following three criteria.” It must have “the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance;” represent “an actual or potential health risk to the athlete;” or violate “the spirit of sport.”
“You note that there are a number of countries around the world where cannabis has been legalized to varying degrees. This is a particularly important point in that it highlights that the Prohibited List is a global document that, like the Code and other International Standards, needs to consider the enormous variety in government policies and be cognizant of international narcotics treaties,” it stated.
“As a result, some governments have advised WADA to draw a distinction between recreational use of cannabinoids [and other substances of abuse, such as methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and heroin] and competing in international athletic competitions under the influence of these drugs, including cannabinoids,” it continued.
“As has been reported by some media, the U.S. has been one of the most vocal and strong advocates for including cannabinoids on the Prohibited List. The meeting minutes and written submissions received from the U.S. over nearly two decades, in particular from USADA, have consistently advocated for cannabinoids to be included on the Prohibited List,” it stated.
“Thus, the argument that some have advanced indicating that U.S. anti-doping stakeholders are bound by antiquated thinking regarding the Prohibited List is not supported by the facts. The consultative process in place allows for modifications to the Prohibited List and the Code, annually. In fact, over time, as your letter recognizes, several such changes have occurred, and there is nothing preventing additional changes consistent with the process I have described,” Banka highlighted.