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WADA Will Maintain Marijuana Ban at Events Despite Push for Legalization

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 23, 2022

ERIC THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images

The World Anti-Doping Agency will not remove marijuana from its list of banned substances despite a continued push from athletes supporting the use of cannabis for therapeutic or recreational purposes.

WADA released a statement saying cannabis use is "against the spirit of sport," and director general Olivier Niggli said unbanning marijuana use is not supported by experts.

"WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC's removal from the Prohibited List are not supported by the experts' thorough review," Niggli said. "We are also conscious that the laws of many countries—as well as broad international regulatory laws and policies—support maintaining cannabis on the List at this time."

WADA was asked to review unbanning marijuana use after United States sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was barred from last year's Tokyo Olympics for a positive test. Richardson said she used marijuana to cope with the death of her mother.

She would have represented the U.S. in the 100-meter dash, where she would have been a contender to medal.

Attitudes regarding marijuana use have seen a significant shift in recent years, particularly in North America. Canada and Mexico legalized cannabis for both recreational and medical use in recent years. While marijuana remains illegal on a federal level in the United States, several states have legalized its recreational and/or medical use.

In the vast majority of other countries, marijuana remains fully illegal. Some European nations and much of South America have approved cannabis for medical purposes, but recreational use largely remains banned worldwide.

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