By Maureen Meehan
The blame game sputtered to the surface again on Wednesday when Edwin Moses, two-time Olympic track and field gold medalist and emeritus chair of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), appeared before a federal commission at a hearing on international sports where he was questioned by panel co-chair Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) about the controversial suspension of Sha’Carri Richardson.
Moses repeated USADA’s trope about how “heartbroken” they all were over Richardson’s suspension following a positive cannabis test and that the organization’s hands are tied with respect to enforcing international drug policy.
Cohen also did his share of hand-wringing when he railed against Richardson’s punishment and how onerous changing marijuana rules can be especially on the international level, “slow as molasses.”
Cohen repeated a remark he’d made earlier about cannabis not being a “performance-enhancing drug unless you’re involved in the hot dog eating contest on the Fourth of July at Coney Island.”
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Very funny, but still no cigar unless the U.S. gets serious about removing a harmless plant from the Controlled Substance Act and recognizes the U.S.’s role in the inclusion of cannabis on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances.
The US’s Role
Regardless of the lip service, such as Moses’s remark that there are no countries in the world that will “ever be as liberal as we are,” the fact of the matter is that the U.S. itself has for years played the leading role in imposing cannabis prohibition.
WADA made that abundantly clear to Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in a letter last month from its president, Witold Banka, who implied that the U.S. has consistently bullied the rest of the world to keep cannabis on the list of prohibited substances.
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“At no time since the first Prohibited List was published in 2004 has WADA received any objection from U.S. stakeholders concerning the inclusion of cannabinoids on the Prohibited List,” Wada wrote. “On the contrary,(…) the U.S. has been one of the most vocal and strong advocates for including cannabinoids on the Prohibited List.”
But in all fairness to Rep. Cohen, he did push the envelope at this week’s hearing on international sports wherein his questioning got USADA to “publicly flesh out its position on marijuana use by athletes,” wrote Marijuana Moment.
“USADA told Congress, right to its face, that the policy of prohibition and stigmatization of cannabis consumers is wrong,” Justin Strekal, said political director for NORML. “The remaining question is when will the House take action to end the mandate that organizations like USADA, the DEA, ONDCP, and others stop criminalizing otherwise law-abiding Americans?”
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.