WADA Will Review Status of Marijuana as Banned Substance


The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Executive Committee (ExCo) will begin a review of marijuana as a banned substance.

Following several requests from a number of stakeholders — and after the tumultuous situation that saw U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson lose her spot on the Olympic track and field team — the ExCo endorsed the decision of the List Expert Advisory Group to initiate in 2022 a scientific review of the status of cannabis at its meeting on Tuesday.

Cannabis is currently prohibited in competition and will continue to be in 2022. But beyond that will depend on the research of the committee.

In compliance with WADA, the U.S. Anti-doping Agency suspended Richardson following a positive cannabis test after the Olympic trials. The suspension cost her a spot on the Olympic team and stripped her of her 100-meter championship at the Olympic trials. She admitted to ingesting cannabis prior to the Olympic trials.

The suspension shocked the world of sports with many asking for that rule to be changed. Despite how polarizing the ban on cannabis has been in wake of the situation, since it is legal in many states, it still was a clear violation of USADA and WADA rules since it is currently on the banned substance list.

Now with a research committee looking into cannabis with careful research, only time will tell if it continues as a banned substance past 2022.

WADA is composed of a 38-member Foundation Board (Board), which is the Agency’s highest policy-making body, and the 14-person ExCo, to which the Board delegates the management and running of the Agency. The Board and ExCo are composed of five representatives each from the Sports Movement, including an athlete, and Governments, as well as four independent members, including the President and Vice-President.

After the meeting, WADA President Witold Bańka, said: “I am pleased with the decisions that were taken today by the Executive Committee on a range of key topics. These will help further strengthen the global anti-doping program and the protection of clean sport. In particular, the decisions made by the committee in relation to compliance, the 2022 Prohibited List and in a number of science-related areas will prove to be important for the continued success of the system and for the good of athletes around the world.”