It’s time to legalize, destigmatize marijuana

It’s time to legalize and destigmatize marijuana

Juana Garcia/ The Cougar

Sha’Carri Richardson’s Olympic suspension shows the world should normalize and legalize recreational marijuana. 

Recently, track and field sprinter Richardson was disqualified from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics because she tested positive for the marijuana chemical THC. She was sure to be on the U.S. team after THC, she’s out. This is awful as she used the marijuana in Oregon, a state where recreational marijuana use is completely legal. 

Nothing she did was illegal and yet she is being kicked out of the Olympics. Of course, this has nothing to do with legality but rather, policy. Still, the stigma of marijuana needs to die out and marijuana itself should be legalized nationwide.

It makes sense for some drugs to be banned from the Olympics as many drugs can be performance-enhancing. However, marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug. The World Anti-Doping Agency bans a drug if it can harm athletes, enhance performance or go against the spirit of force. The latter is completely subjective and one could definitely make the argument that alcohol and tobacco are just as harmful as marijuana, both of which are not banned

Marijuana has a lot of medicinal purposes now, being used to treat anxiety, chronic pain, migraines and other ailments. It’s a substance that isn’t chemically addicting or performance-enhancing, so it really should not be on WADA’s ban list. 

In fact, it really shouldn’t be on any list, including the list of drugs outlawed in the U.S. Marijuana should be legal nationwide. Police should not have to waste their time arresting people for smoking or selling marijuana.

Additionally, marijuana needs to be destigmatized. Many people accept alcohol use as normal. It’s normal to hear about people getting wasted and drunk every weekend. Many people drink alcohol but look down on marijuana users. Even though many people use marijuana socially just like alcohol at parties. Marijuana affects a person differently than alcohol, but they’re still both substances. 

Richardson apparently used marijuana to cope with her mother’s death. This really isn’t much different than someone getting drunk after a family member’s death. It’s normal for people to use alcohol to cope with sad things. 

Richardson is only 21 years old. She is a young girl who was mourning her mother. She should have the chance to show off what she’s worked so hard for. It’s a shame the stigmatization of marijuana will prevent her from doing that. It’s time to legalize and destigmatize marijuana. 

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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