Press Release

Marijuana Policy Project President and CEO Comments on International Olympic Committee’s Ruling Following Athlete’s Positive Drug Test

Feb 15, 2022

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Contact: Violet Cavendish

On Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva can continue to compete at the Beijing Olympics, despite testing positive late last year for a banned substance.

In response to this news, Toi Hutchison, President and CEO at the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization, released the following statement:

“Less than a year ago, sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was banned from the Olympic 100-meter race following a positive cannabis test. Meanwhile, it was announced that Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva could compete after failing a doping test. The stark contrast between how these two cases were handled is deafening. As Ricardson correctly pointed out, THC is not a performance enhancing drug, yet in this instance the punishment for a positive cannabis test received a harsher punishment. This unfortunate situation makes it clear that the stigma surrounding cannabis use remains deeply entrenched to this day, leading to far-reaching consequences. It also serves as a reminder that cannabis prohibition policies are descendants of prejudice. And to this day, they result in social injustices due to disproportionate impacts on people of color.

“The decision to exclude Richardson from participating in the Olympics was already deeply disappointing. Personal use of cannabis should never stop an athlete from representing the United States of America and pursuing their dreams.”


Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.

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