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Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the Olympic Games' ban of a U.S. sprinter who failed a drug test was the result of a “racist and colonial policy.”
The Olympic Games issued Sha'Carri Richardson, 21, a 30-day ban for violating its cannabis policy after she tested positive for THC. The suspension could result in her not being able to participate in the 100-meter dash, of which she was likely to win a medal.
"The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter, calling for the International Olympic Committee to reconsider the suspension. "The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use."
Ocasio-Cortez sent a letter from her congressional office to the United States and World Anti-Doping Agency, whose guidance the Olympic Games follows.
“This punishment, which is not supported by any scientific evidence, may prevent Ms. Richardson from competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics just after she inspired the country with her performance in the Olympic Trials last month,” she wrote with Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Chairman Jamie Raskin.
“We are also concerned that the continued prohibition of marijuana while your organizations allow recreational use of alcohol and other drugs reflects anti-drug laws and policies that have historically targeted Black and Brown communities while largely condoning drug use in white communities,” the letter read.
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, a member of Ocasio-Cortez’s “Squad,” shared her support for Richardson.
Richardson took responsibility for the failed drug test, acknowledging that the use of cannabis was against the rules.
"I want to take responsibility for my actions," she said. "I know what I did, I know what I'm supposed to do ... and I still made that decision."
Richardson was "not making an excuse or looking for any empathy," but she said that her use of marijuana was a way of coping after her mother's recent death.
“To put on a face and go out in front of the world and hide my pain, who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with pain and struggles you’ve never had to experience before?” Richardson said.
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Original Author: Lawrence Richard