Marijuana use will remain banned at sports events after the World Anti-Doping Agency on Friday resisted calls to change its status on the list of prohibited substances.
The agency was asked to review the status of THC — the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis — after the case of US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who did not go to the Tokyo Olympics last year.
She served a one-month ban after testing positive at the national trials meet where she won the 100 metres. The sprinter said she had smoked marijuana as a way of coping with her mother’s death.
In a separate decision, the opiate tramadol will now be banned when athletes are competing from January 2024, the WADA executive committee decided at a meeting in Sydney, Australia.
Athletes who use cannabis were consulted by WADA-appointed experts whose conclusions included that it was “against the spirit of sport”, the agency said.
Positive tests for THC at races and events, though not in training, can therefore continue to trigger bans as short as one month.
The debate “is not straightforward”, WADA director general Olivier Niggli acknowledged on Friday.
“WADA is also mindful that the few requests for THC’s removal from the Prohibited List are not supported by the experts’ thorough review,” he 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 also…