The suspension of United States runner Sha'Carri Richardson over her use of marijuana in the wake of her biological mother's death has been drawing lots of attention to the Tokyo Olympics and the legalization of marijuana.
The latest to voice their displeasure at the punishment leveled against the 21‐year-old track and field star is White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during an interview on CNN.
The Press Secretary told CNN New Day anchor John Berman:
"It does stink...and I don't think there's a better definition of it."
You can see video footage here:
Richardson's punishment—a 30 day suspension—meant the 21-year-old athlete could not compete in the 100-meter sprint in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. She had a shot of being named to the 4 x 100 relay event but her name does not appear on the official USA Track and Field release.
During the interview, CNN's Berman recalled President Joe Biden said on Saturday the "rules are the rules".
Berman then noted this situation was:
"...beyond the rules"
Press Secretary Psaki echoed the sentiment, saying Richardson was "inspiring" and:
"[This is] not the end...maybe it's just the beginning of her story..."
"We know the rules are where they are."
"We certainly have to respect the role of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Olympic Committee in the decisions they make."
"But it is sad and we do wish her luck and look forward to seeing her running as the fastest woman in the world for years to come."
Psaki also fielded questions during her daily press briefing.
Supporters of Richardson—and the national legalization of marijuana—continued to express their views online.
Recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, Washington DC and Guam. Medical use of marijuana is legal in 36 states, four out of five permanently inhabited United States territories and the District of Columbia.
While Sha'Carri Richardson will likely not run at the Olympics in Tokyo this year, we can hope this renewed conversation about the standards our athletes are held to—since the use of tobacco and alcohol are not monitored or pfohibited—has some positive impact.