Congressman from Tennessee Steven Cohen on Wednesday joined the chorus of condemnation against the decision to ban United States sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson from the Tokyo Olympics after she tested positive for marijuana.
Speaking at a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Steve Cohen mocked the reasoning offered up for Richardson’s one-month suspension.
“Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug unless you’re entered in the Coney Island hot dog eating contest on the Fourth of July,” said Congressman Cohen, a Democrat who represents Tennessee’s ninth district. “To take her right to appear, her dream, away from her, is absurd.”
Richardson, 21, is set to miss this summer’s Olympics after a positive marijuana test rendered her results at the U.S. track and field Olympic trials invalid. She won the 100-meter dash at the trials last month in Oregon and was a favorite to win gold in Tokyo.
Marijuana is banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances, and both the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee adhere to the global body’s code.
The USADA explains that marijuana is banned because it could pose a health and safety risk to athletes and that cannabis can be performance-enhancing for some.