Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez criticized the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for suspending an Olympic athlete for testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana, calling the policy “colonial and racist.”
“The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy,” the New York Democrat tweeted.
“The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use.”
The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy.
The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use. This ruling along w/ IOC denial of swim caps for natural hair is deeply troubling. https://t.co/Ao1Yu8Ax9G
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 2, 2021
Richardson won the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.86 seconds, making her a gold medal contender, according to ESPN.
“The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking on many levels,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement.
“Hopefully, her acceptance of responsibility and apology will be an important example to us all that we can successfully overcome our regrettable decisions, despite the costly consequences of this one to her.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, Ocasio-Cortez and the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties formally asked the USADA to end Richardson’s suspension so she can run in the Olympics.
“Their decision lacks any scientific basis. It’s rooted solely in the systemic racism that’s long driven anti-marijuana laws,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
“Even the medical director of [the World Anti-Doping Agency], whose U.S. arm issued the suspension, has said there is no evidence that marijuana is performance enhancing.”
She added, “Not to mention, marijuana is legal in Oregon where Ms. Richardson was when she used it.”
Even the medical director of @wada_ama, whose U.S. arm issued the suspension, has said there is no evidence that marijuana is performance enhancing.
Not to mention, marijuana is legal in Oregon where Ms. Richardson was when she used it.
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) July 3, 2021
“I want to take responsibility for my actions,” Richardson said. “I know what I did. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what I’m allowed not to do, and I still made that decision.”
Recreational marijuana use is legal in Oregon as well as 16 other states and D.C. but is prohibited in competition per the WADA’s rules, according to Fox News.
“This is just one Games. I’m 21, I’m very young. … I have plenty of Games left in me to compete in and I have plenty of talent that backs me up, because everything I do comes from me naturally. No steroid, no anything,” she said.
“This incident was about marijuana, so after my sanction is up I’ll be back and able to compete, and every single time I step on the track I’ll be ready for whatever anti-doping agency to come and get what it is that they need.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.