Sanders on Richardson Olympic suspension: 'Speaks to the problems' of the 'war on drugs'

Sanders on Richardson Olympic suspension: 'Speaks to the problems' of the 'war on drugs'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Briahna Joy Gray: Voters are 'torn' over Ohio special election Shontel Brown wins Ohio Democratic primary in show of establishment strength MORE (I-Vt.) weighed in Sha’Carri Richardson’s Olympic suspension, saying that it “speaks to the problems” associated with the “war on drugs.”

Richardson accepted a one-month suspension that began June 28 after testing positive for THC, the chemical found in marijuana, following the Olympic qualifiers in Eugene, Ore., on June 19.

Richardson was left off the Olympic team, with USA Track and Field saying Tuesday that it would be “detrimental to the integrity of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials” to amend its policies weeks away from competition.


Sanders criticized the suspension in an interview with columnist Maureen Dowd published in The New York Times.

“I think it speaks to the problems of the so-called war on drugs,” he told Dowd. “So I have a problem with that.”

Richardson’s suspension has received widespread criticism, with some arguing that the anti-marijuana policy is reflective of harmful drug policies that impact people of color, specifically in the United States.

Marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized in several states, including Oregon, where Richardson used the drug.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinThe job of shielding journalists is not finished House at war over Jan. 6 inquiry, mask mandate GOP Rep. Clyde defends 'normal tourist visit' comparison for Jan. 6 MORE (D-Md.), had similar criticisms about the decision to suspend Richardson and asked the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to reconsider. 

“We are also concerned that the continued prohibition of marijuana while your organizations allow recreational use of alcohol and other drugs reflects anti-drug laws and policies that have historically targeted Black and Brown communities while largely condoning drug use in white communities,” the lawmakers said.

“Anti-marijuana laws have a particularly ugly history of systemic racism,” they added.