Budding 21-year-old Texas track superstar Sha'Carri Richardson has been suspended for a month by the USADA for failing a drug test for THC. The test occurred after she scored 10.86 in a 100 meters race on June 19 at the U.S. Olympic trials. Richardson previously ran the sixth fastest women's time in the 100 meters with 10.72. On July 1, it was revealed she'd tested positive in June.
Richardson says the smoking incident occurred in Oregon after she learned about her mother's death. It was her way to cope.
"Who am I to tell you how to cope when you're dealing with a pain or you're dealing with a struggle that you've never experienced before or that you never thought you'd have to deal with," she commented on Today (see clip above). "Who am I to tell you how to cope? Who am I to tell you you're wrong for hurting?
"I apologize for the fact that I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time... We all have our different struggles. But I have to go out in front of the world and put on a face and hide my pain."
Richardson stressed that it was "just marijuana" and not a steroid. "I'm not encouraging anybody to do it," she added. "I'm not saying, Oh, don't do it. If you choose to do things in your personal time, beware of the consequences or just find different ways to cope. Don't judge because I'm human. I just run a little faster."
I am human— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) July 1, 2021
Richardson was scheduled to compete in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo from July 23-August 8. Now, her only hope is to participate in the women's relay on August 5-6.
President Joe Biden said he's "really proud of the way [Richardson] responded," but stated sternly: "The rules are the rules and everybody knows what the rules are going in. Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue, but the rules are the rules."
Sha'Carri Richardson on pot: "I'm not encouraging anybody to do it. I'm not saying, Oh, don't do it. If you choose to do things in your personal time, beware of the consequences."
Responses from the Cannabis Community
• Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) via Facebook: "Time to get real America. It’s past time to stop the failed War on Drugs. What’s happening to Sha’Carri Richardson is just one more example of its collateral damage large and small. The government needs to catch up with America and real life."
• NORML via Facebook: "This is dumb. Sha'Carri Richardson deserves to compete with the best of the best but will not be able to compete in Tokyo after testing positive for marijuana."
• Ross Rebagliati via Facebook: "Another amazing athlete taken down by fake cannabis prohibition at the Olympics. This has to stop. This is a great opportunity to recognize cannabis as a healthy choice for athletes like Sha'Carri and remove THC from the list of banned substances immediatly."
• Dr. Carl Hart via Facebook: "This breaks my heart. To prevent an athlete from competing for merely taking marijuana is cruel. We have to grow up, and quickly. Too many people continue to be harmed by our heedless adolescent policies and actions."
• Jeff Meyers via Facebook: "How ridiculous is this? Marijuana is legal in many states. If the Olympics wants to ban athletes for drug use, include alcohol, which kills about 100,000 Americans a year, while weed kills none."
• Wesley Stubblefield via Facebook: "Kind of makes you wonder. Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Sha'Carri Richardson. Three best in their field and all use cannabis."
Statement from Women Grow
This antiquated system of criminalizing the consumption of cannabis is WRONG, DATED and UNJUST. We are in a time when people from all walks of life have come out and continue to speak out on the benefits of cannabis. Let's be clear, cannabis IS NOT a performance enhancer. On the contrary, our industry leaders in science and medicine have stated that cannabis aids in healing, from pain to anxiety. Why are countless patients, athletes and everyday people penalized for a plant that supports their health?
"Women Grow stands with Sha'Carri."
It's time we raise our voices to the highest levels to demand "change now." Sha'Carri should not be suspended. Instead, she needs to be supported. Athletes like her endure enormous amounts of stress to their bodies and minds as they strive to reach the optimal levels of excellence needed to compete. She chose a plant over pills - what a brilliant choice of a holistic alternative. It's time we lift this stigma of negativity over this plant. Let's decriminalize the use of this plant. Let's support the people who seek aid from this plant. LET'S CHANGE NOW! Sha'Carri, we, the women in cannabis, fight every day to free the plant. We fight for wellness. We fight for equity and equality for the plant and the changes needed in the world and its systems to free the plant. We fight every day for you! Women Grow stands with Sha'Carri.
Celeb Reactions on Twitter
Let #ShacarriRichardson run simply because no one should be punished for consuming a medicine. Period.— Cannabis Farmer: Jim Belushi (@JimBelushi) July 2, 2021
#ShacarriRichardson it’s not about THC ,she’s a force and they are threatened by her Power— rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) July 2, 2021
Weed is great for many a thing but running faster isn't one of them. LET HER RUN!!! #ShacarriRichardson— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) July 2, 2021
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