Sha’Carri Richardson's Unjust Suspension From U.S. Olympics Team Byproduct Of War On Drugs

American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who wowed Americans with her record-setting win in the women’s 100-meter race at the U.
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Photos: YouTube\Twitter

July 2, 2021 – New York, NY: American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who wowed Americans with her record-setting win in the women’s 100-meter race at the U.S. track and field trials in Oregon last month, has been suspended from the Olympic team after testing positive for THC, the compound found in marijuana.

Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) has released the following statement:

“Drug testing is yet another tool of the drug war, and it’s a failure. Sha’Carri’s suspension serves as a cautionary tale and a reminder of how insidious the drug war is in our everyday lives, far beyond the carceral state. Drug testing does nothing to show current impairment. The USADA must undo this archaic, inhumane, and unscientific policy.

“Sha’Carri is a young, autonomous Black woman and she has the right to put whatever she wants in her body. She shouldn't have to apologize for the choices she makes to navigate her life. Yet she is being locked out of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity she has fought her entire life for because she chose to use marijuana to cope with the grief of losing her biological mother. But let us be clear: trauma is not a prerequisite for all drug use.

“Sha’Carri apologized, mentioning ‘I know what I am not allowed to do, and I still made that decision.’ But the rules are inconsistent. Sha’Carri reportedly used marijuana in Oregon—a state where adult use is legal. These inconsistencies force people to be stuck in the middle, navigating unclear rules and being faced with lifelong consequences. We must end the drug war once and for all so that no one is subjected to contradictory and punitive rules about what they can and cannot put in their own bodies.”

Drug Policy Alliance has been leading efforts to end drug testing, including:

  • Launching “Uprooting the Drug War,” a campaign that exposes the insidious ways the drug war has taken root in six critical systems: education, employment, housing, child welfare, immigration, and public benefits;
  • Educating on the effects of drug testing (as seen in this fact sheet);
  • Urging the House to swiftly pass the MORE Act (H.R. 3617), absent of a harmful provision that was added to exclude federal workers of drug testing protections.

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