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How the White House shot Team USA in the foot

After Sha’Carri Richardson was left off the Team USA roster for testing positive for THC, Marijuana Moment expertly unpacked the history of cannabis prohibition at the Olympics.

Blame Canada…

When Richardson’s drug test results were first made public, many pointed at a glaring double-standard: Why did Team Canada snowboarding champ Ross Rebagliati eventually get to keep his gold medal after testing positive for THC at 1998’s Nagano Olympics, but Richardson won’t even have the opportunity to compete in Tokyo?

As it turns out, Rebagliati’s medal was what triggered a letter from Clinton administration drug czar Barry McCaffrey to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), complaining that it “seemed to directly undercut our messages to young people that drug use undermines a child’s opportunities for success.”

…and the US

The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) embarked on a campaign to convince the IOC to ban cannabis. Richard Pound, the first president of the World Anti-Doping Association, told Marijuana Moment that the US was “adamant” that cannabis be prohibited.

Time to ‘take another look’

Now, advocates are pushing the US administration to take the lead once more — this time,  on reversing the policy. Pointing to the overwhelming support of federal legalization, successful state cannabis regimes, the racist history of the war on drugs and its ongoing harms, and the lack of health or safety risks of cannabis consumption, it’s time to bring the issue back to the table for discussion once more. 

Thankfully — but unfortunately too late for Richardson — White House press secretary Jen Psaki agreed, telling CNN that it could be time to “take another look” at the policy.

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