US Democratic House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter on Friday to share her opinion about the disqualification of the athlete Sha’Carri Richardson over the runner's purported use of marijuana, observing that the criminalization of cannabis is "an instrument of racist and colonial policy."
She urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reconsider its 30-day suspension of Richardson and other athletes who have been penalized for marijuana use, prompting critical comments in Twitter threads.
"The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy. The IOC should reconsider its suspension of Ms. Richardson and any athletes penalized for cannabis use", Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
She also referred to the earlier decision by the IOC to ban swimming hats suitable for afro hair, calling it "deeply troubling".
Users immediately reminded AOC that cannabis is prohibited by the rules, and Richardson, as a professional athlete, could not have been unaware of the stipulations for particptaing in the sports event.
There may be nothing wrong inherently with smoking weed, but it's in the rules of banned drugs for the race.— don't see anyone spamming psy fancams (@hakunamatattayo) July 2, 2021
As an athlete you must follow the rules of the competition and she didn't. It sucks but you can't just bend the rules.
But why would she use it if she knows it is banned by the IOC?— Kevin_kevv (@Kevin_kevv1) July 2, 2021
So she smoked weed. No big deal. Let her compete.— Evan (@daviddunn177) July 2, 2021
Others suggested that Ocasio-Cortez should "stop trying so hard" and accused her of racism.
"colonial policy"? Stop trying so hard. You're already mostly right. Alienating people with woke doublespeak is not helping.— Strxwmxn 🌵🖐️ (@strxwmxn) July 2, 2021
So you’re implying only black people smoke weed? I like a lot of what you say but this doesn’t smell right to me.— Darroch (@AU_ghoti) July 2, 2021
First, it was a chemical IN the marijuana, according to the article you referenced. Second, the banning of marijuana by the IOC is for EVERY PERSON OF EVERY SKIN COLOR. She knew the rules, she broke them. It happens EVERY SINGLE olympics.— Steven Bostwick (@StevenBostwick7) July 2, 2021
Someone shared some screenshots allegedly made from Richardson's own social media account in which she appeared to be incautious in her own rhetoric.
Richardson asserted that she used marijuana to cope with the recent death of her mother. On 1 July, after her story was picked up by multiple media outlets, the athlete took to Twitter with the laconic comment: "I am human".
She has not accused the IOC or any other agencies that clarify in their rules that the use of marijuana is prohibited at sports competitions of racism.