The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will review the status of cannabis on its banned substances list. The agency has initiated the move in the wake of the positive test that resulted in Sha'Carri Richardson of the USA getting suspended from the Olympics.
The decision was taken after a meeting of WADA's executive committee in Istanbul. WADA said a scientific review of cannabis would be conducted next year.
"Following receipt of requests from a number of stakeholders, the (executive committee) endorsed the decision of the List Expert Advisory Group to initiate in 2022 a scientific review of the status of cannabis," WADA said in a statement.
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"Cannabis is currently prohibited in competition and will continue to be in 2022."
WADA added "there will be limited modifications" only to the Prohibited List for 2022, following the Executive Committee's latest meeting in Istanbul.
A modification, which prohibits all injectable administration of glucocorticoids in competition, was approved in September 2020. It will be implemented in January next year. This delay is standard procedure, meant to allow more time for communication and education of athletes and medical personnel with regards to the change. That helps in avoiding inadvertent adverse analytical findings and for laboratories to update their procedures.
So Cannabis will have to wait.
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Richardson, who had recorded some very fast times early in the season, was expected to be one of the stars at Tokyo Olympics. The 21-year-old, however, missed the Games after being handed a 30-day suspension following a positive test for marijuana. The test was conducted after her 100m victory at the US Olympic trials in Eugene, in June.
Richardson’s case triggered debate about marijuana's continued inclusion on WADA's banned list. Many celebrities and athletes have criticised the rule, terming it as outdated. World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe is one of them.
"It's not an unreasonable moment to have a review," Coe said during the Olympics. "It's sensible – nothing is set in stone. You adapt and occasionally reassess."
Among other decisions at Istanbul, six National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) and two international federations were declared non-compliant.
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The Deaf International Basketball Federation, German Community of Belgium National Anti-Doping Organisation, International Gira Sports Federation and NADOs of Montenegro, Romania and Thailand were all confirmed by the Executive Committee as non-compliant, They had failed to implement the 2021 version of the Code in their legal structures.
The NADOs of North Korea and Indonesia were declared non-compliant for failing to conform with the Code in their anti-doping programmes.
The organisations have 21 days following receipt of their notice of non-compliance to dispute the verdict.
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