Tokyo Olympics 2020: Megan Rapinoe Facing Backlash as She Promotes Cannabis Brand at Games

by Emily Morgan

The Tokyo Olympics are well underway, and missing from the opening ceremony was U.S. track star Sha’Carri Richardson, whose failed drug test unfortunately shattered any hopes of taking home the gold. 

Now, people are speaking out after soccer champ Megan Rapinoe’s recently revealed her latest brand deal. 

In an article from Forbes, Rapinoe discusses her new training regimen, CBD gummies and topical sticks. As a result, people are calling the Olympics “racist and sexist toward Black women.”

Cannabis & CBD Use in the Olympics

Although Richardson was kicked out of the Olympics for using a different substance, it didn’t keep people from being outraged. People are now arguing that the slight differences between the substances are not significant enough to justify removing Richardson. 

Many commentators on the other side of the debate argue that CBD and THC, the chemical that disqualified Richardson, also come from different plants, hemp, and marijuana, respectively. According to Olympics officials, while the “sister plants” are similar, marijuana’s higher THC content, and more significant psychoactive traits make it different compared to CBD. 

Additionally, it’s important to note that the U.S. soccer captain won’t be using Mendi products when she hits the field at the Olympics, given the city’s anti-cannabis laws. It’s also important to note that the Forbes piece highlighted Rapinoe’s creation of Mendi, which was founded by her sister. The article sought to feature a broader narrative of the drug’s ongoing acceptance in sports and the Olympics.

As for Richardson, Rapinoe publicly announced her support for the track star earlier this month, tweeting, “This is trash. Standing with @itskerrii 100%. This has BEEN outdated.”

Richardson was swift in taking responsibility for her drug use in an interview with NBC’s “Today” earlier in July. In the interview, she clarified that she’d used marijuana to cope with the “nerve shocking” news of her mom’s passing. 

“Who am I to tell you how to cope when you’re dealing with a pain or you’re dealing with a struggle that you’ve never experienced before, or that you’ve never thought you would have to do it?” she said. “Like who am I to tell you how to cope for them? Who am I to tell you that you are wrong for hurting?”