American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson will not run in the Tokyo Olympics, the U.S. track and field federation said Tuesday.
The decision came as Richardson serves a 30-day suspension for failing a drug test for cannabis. While this suspension would have benched Richardson for at least part of the Tokyo Olympics, the sprinter will now be completely barred from competing in the Olympics, including on the relay team.
“While USATF fully agrees that the merit of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules related to THC should be reevaluated, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track & Field if USATF amended its policies following competition, only weeks before the Olympic Games,” USA Track & Field said in a statement.
Richardson’s suspension prompted a larger conversation online over cannabis legalization as many public figures chimed in on their belief that cannabis should be legalized across the country.
Seth Rogan defended Richardson online by calling Team USA’s choice “insane” and calling for a reevaluation of marijuana’s reputation as a problematic “drug.”
“The notion that weed is a problematic ‘drug’ is rooted in racism,” Rogen wrote, “It’s insane that Team USA would disqualify one of this country’s most talented athletes over thinking that’s rooted in hatred. It’s something they should be ashamed of.”
Richardson responded to her suspension on NBC’s Today Show July 2, saying “I just want to take responsibility for my actions. I’m not making an excuse or looking for any empathy in my case.”