Sebastian Coe says marijuana policies in track and field must be reconsidered

  • Sebastian Coe, head of the world athletics team, told Insider he believes it is time to reconsider marijuana policies in the sport.
  • Coe said he encouraged the Sports Integrity Unit to come up with “ideas and suggestions” for the policy review.
  • Coe’s comments come on the eve of the world championships and one year after Sha’Carri Richardson’s absence from the Tokyo Olympics due to a positive marijuana test.

It is time for the World Anti-Doping Agency and national anti-doping agencies to reconsider their marijuana policies, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe told Insider.

“I have encouraged our Athletics Integrity Unit to engage in discussions with the World Anti-Doping Agency, and of course the national anti-doping agencies, to look into this and come back with some ideas and suggestions,” Coe said.

The comments come on the eve of the World Track and Field Championships, which began Thursday in Eugene, Oregon.

It also comes just over a year after American sprinter Shachary Richardson tested positive for marijuana, making her ineligible for the Tokyo Olympics due to her one-month suspension.

Richardson’s stance sparked outrage in the sports world, especially as she revealed that she used marijuana to cope with her mother’s death.

With more and more US states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, Koe said sports agencies must adapt to an evolving world.

“Look, we have to acknowledge the world we live in,” Coe said.

“I’m not making a statement at the moment, but I’ve encouraged some new thinking about this space, because it’s clear to me that this discussion is timely.”

Sebastian Coe speaking at a meeting.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.

Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Koo had expressed similar thoughts last July from Tokyo.

“This is reasonable, since there is nothing engraved on stone slabs,” he said. “You adapt and reevaluate every now and then.”

Experts have called THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, the “gray zone” as it relates to athletic performance, as some believe it can aid in recovery and pain relief.

Several major US sports leagues have relaxed marijuana policies, from not penalizing athletes who test positive for not being tested at all, According to Axios.


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