In a shocking move, United States Olympic sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for marijuana in her system and very well could miss the Olympics as a result. As always, with any marijuana sports-related incident, there has been loads of backlash from the public regarding the unreasonable rules in many sports leagues.
Quite simply, I’m tired of seeing athletes’ careers ruined by a non-performance enhancing drug. It makes little to no sense to have marijuana showcased as a life-threatening drug when it simply is not. In a time period where studies have proven that alcohol is significantly worse than marijuana, conservative outlets and leagues have remained stagnant on their approach.
Luckily, some sports leagues such as the NBA and NFL have recognized the research revolving around marijuana use and have taken prompt action to not regularly test or punish athletes for using its products.
In an interview in 2019 with league commissioner Adam Silver, Silver stated, “One of the things I’ve been talking more about in the last year is the mental wellness of our players… Look, some guys are smoking pot just in the same way a guy would take a drink. And it’s like whatever, ‘Smoking pot, I’m just using it to come down a little bit or I just want to relax.’ No big deal. No issue. And I think it’s the reason why it has been legalized in a lot of states. And from that standpoint, if that were the only issue, maybe we’re behind the times in our program. On the other hand, there’s also guys in the league who are smoking a lot of pot. And then the question is, why are you smoking a lot of pot? And that’s where mental wellness comes in. Because I’ve also talked directly to players who say, ‘I’m smoking a lot of pot, because I have a lot of anxiety and I’m struggling.”
Cannabis serves to have many benefits for athletes all across the world. As described by Silver, athletes’ mental healths are largely improved by the use of marijuana, as many note its ability to harness and lower stress and anxiety levels to be very helpful.
In the end, it’s extremely refreshing to hear Silver speak on the issue, but in order for the sports world to be progressive and more comfortable for its athletes, many other leagues will also have to follow through.