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World Anti-Doping Agency reviewing cannabis' status as banned substance

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 9/15/2021 Chelena Goldman, Yardbarker
a close up of a sign © MARC BRAIBANT/AFP via Getty Images

Roughly two months after U.S. track star Sha'Carri Richardson was disqualified from the Tokyo Olympics for testing positive for marijuana, the World Anti-Doping Agency appears to be doing an about-face.

WADA released a statement Tuesday saying it is reviewing the status of marijuana as a banned substance, CBS Sports reported Wednesday. Marijuana and marijuana-based products will remain on the list of prohibited substances through 2022 while the review is being conducted.

Cannabis was initially banned because it could be used as a performance-enhancer and "could potentially endanger" the athletes. However, those claims cannabis products improve athletic performance have been widely criticized by health experts outside of the committee.

"I didn't think the evidence base for marijuana would be particularly strong," Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic told NPR back in July when Richardson was disqualified. "But as I looked at the papers yesterday, I was surprised at how weak it is."

Richardson was disqualified during the Olympic qualifiers in Oregon  -- where marijuana is legal -- after submitting a positive drug test. Richardson took to social media following the disqualification to thank her fans and supporters for sticking by her.

Richardson also went on the "TODAY" show to air her grievances following the disqualification, which prompted a response from US Track and Field. 

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