Half a million people petition to get Sha’Carri Richardson back into the Olympics

‘In no world is marijuana a performance-enhancing drug for runners’

<p>Sha’Carri Richardson runs in the Women’s 100 Meter semifinal on day 2 of the 2020 US Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on 19 June, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. Ms Richardson has been suspended after testing positive for marijuana.</p>

Sha’Carri Richardson runs in the Women’s 100 Meter semifinal on day 2 of the 2020 US Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on 19 June, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. Ms Richardson has been suspended after testing positive for marijuana.

A petition calling for the reversal of Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension from competing in the Olympics after she tested positive for marijuana has gained nearly half a million signatures.

Ms Richardson, 21, had won the women’s 100-metre race in the US track and field trials in Oregon last month, allowing her to compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

However, after she tested positive for marijuana, the sprinter was banned from the 100-metre race over what critics have called an “outdated” rule stemming from the US’s “War on Drugs”.

“Sha’Carri Richardson is one of the fastest athletes in the world – and would have a real chance of winning the 100-metre sprint in the Summer Olympics this month. However, due to an outdated and arbitrarily enforced rule around marijuana, she’s now going to be kept from competing on the world stage,” the petition, published on MoveOn.org states.

“In no world is marijuana a performance-enhancing drug for runners, and in more places in the United States and around the world, marijuana use is legal,” the petition notes.

The petition urge the US Anti-Doping Agency to drop its penalty and allow the athlete to compete in the upcoming Olympics.

“There are many reasons to have rules against performance-enhancing drugs, but this one is absurd,” it states.

The petition further goes on to say that “the imposition of a penalty against a world-class Black, queer, woman athlete is powerfully and infuriatingly reminiscent of the way drug laws are regularly applied in the United States”.

“ Recreational marijuana use has been de facto legal for upper-middle-class white people for years – something more states are recognising as they legalise marijuana for all people and consider how to repair the damage done to Black and brown communities by decades of the ‘war of drugs’,” it says.

“The world is coming together for a Summer Olympics postponed by a global pandemic, and we deserve to see the best athletes in fair, open competition,” it asserts.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the petition had garnered more than 498,000 signatures, just shy of its goal of 500,000.

“Weed is a lot of things, but what it is not is a performance enhancing drug,” one signatory said under the petition.

“We love and very proud of you Sha’Carri! Marijuana is not a performance enhancer! LET HER RUN!!!” another said.

In a recent tweet, Ms Richardson thanked her supporters, writing: “My community I thank y’all, the negative forget y’all and enjoy the games because we all know it won’t be the same.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t be y’all Olympic Champ this year but I promise I’ll be your World Champ next year,” she said.

Appearing to take aim at her critics, she added: “All these perfect people that know how to live life, I’m glad I’m not one of them!”

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