You never know how your life can take twists and turns and make an impact in ways that you never expected. Personally, I never intended to go to law school to help change cannabis laws as I thought that I was going to be a normal general practice attorney. My legal career plans were derailed in college after I witnessed firsthand my Black friends treated more harshly for cannabis offenses than my white friends and I had to do something about that.
Even though I wanted to play my part by providing legal assistance to nonviolent folks harmed by the Drug War, I didn’t know that I would be traumatized by clients getting prison sentences for weed possession. Out of a sense of justice and to protect my mental health, I knew that I needed to help change the law so fewer people were getting sentenced to prison for drug offenses as standing next to people at sentencing while their loved ones were crying was too difficult for me to handle and alcoholism was inevitable.
Of course Sha’Carri Richardson didn’t plan on galvanizing the cannabis law reform community and adding fuel to the fire to burn down the failed and harmful War on Drugs when while trying to fulfill her Olympic dreams, but here we are. After utilizing cannabis, while legal in Oregon during the US track trials in Eugene after learning about the death of her mother, Richardson’s nonsensical suspension shined a bright light on the harmful impacts of Reefer Madness for the entire world to see, setting social media ablaze with #LetShacarriRun. While it is extremely sad that Richardson wasn’t able to run at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, her plight may have just ensured that no other Olympic athlete suffers the same fate as Marijuana Moment reported:
“The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will conduct a scientific review of marijuana next year to determine whether it should continue an international ban on cannabis use by athletes.
“WADA’s marijuana policy became a major focus this summer following the suspension of U.S. runner Sha’Carri Richardson from participating in the Olympics over a positive THC test. The organization’s executive committee on Tuesday said it had accepted a recommendation from a drug list advisory board to reexamine the science on marijuana, which could inform a potential policy change.
“In a press release, WADA said the panel agreed to conduct the review ‘following receipt of requests from a number of stakeholders.’ It didn’t name those stakeholders, but numerous athletic leagues—as well as lawmakers and President Joe Biden—have suggested that the international marijuana ban for athletes should be reconsidered.”
While we shouldn’t count our chickens before they hatch and the cannabis community is used to “two steps forward, one step back” in our fight for freedom, this is positive news for the legalization movement and Olympic athletes that choose to utilize a substance safer than alcohol and legal prescription narcotics. Several professional athletes have helped move us forward towards a more sane cannabis policy, including former Portland Trail Blazer great Clifford Robinson (may he rest in peace) and Heisman Trophy and NFL rushing champion Ricky Williams. While Sha’Carri Richardson didn’t set out to be a legalization activist, and she still may not want to be considered an advocate, her absurd suspension for a non-performance enhancing drug has set her on a path to make drug policy reform history.
While cannabis may not be a performance-enhancing drug that’ll help you run faster, it certainly can enhance your life in many ways. Come to Kind Leaf, Pendleton’s premier craft cannabis boutique and let our knowledgeable budtenders help you make a selection from the best supply of cannabis in the Great Northwest. #BeKind.