Sha'Carri Richardson's Cannabis Controversy Repeats With Coraly Ortiz, The Puerto Rican Athlete Suspended For THC

By Lucía Tedesco via El Planteo, adapted for Benzinga

Puerto Rican athlete Coraly Ortiz was recently hit with a two-year suspension after her tests came back positive for cannabis. However, she claims there were irregularities in the process.

The test results showed that her body contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound of the plant. Yet, the javelin thrower argues that the sanction is disproportionate and points to unfair treatment during the anti-doping tests. “I have represented Puerto Rico for over 30 years, and the way I have been treated in this process to this day has been very malicious,” said the 37-year-old.

Following the anti-doping test conducted by the Puerto Rico National Anti-Doping Organization (PRADO) during the Spring Championship in Carolina last year, Coraly Ortiz was suspended, preventing her from participating in the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago.

What’s curious is that the athlete has a license for the use of medicinal cannabis and had used the substance due to a relapse in depression that she was treating with health professionals.

“This surprises me a lot, and I think that they went too far with the suspension,” Ortiz told El Vocero about the first positive test in her entire career. The athlete emphasized that she did not use any anabolic steroids to enhance her performance: “I would never resort to that.”

During the process, she was subjected to an excessive number of anti-doping tests, including visits to her home for testing. Additionally, she expressed her dissatisfaction with the lack of support from the Puerto Rican Olympic Committee (COPUR) and the Puerto Rican Athletics Federation (FAPUR). “COPUR and FAPUR are supposed to help me with this until the case is seen, and they have not communicated with me at any time,” she declared.

Ortiz has decided to continue training with the hope of competing again once the suspension ends in July 2025, although this incident has significantly impacted her career. However, she assures: “I have nothing to prove, but I love my sport and I will return (…) I will always want to represent my Island, I have always received support from my people.”

Not The First

Ortiz's case draws parallels to several high-profile incidents involving U.S. athletes suspended for cannabis use. Most notably, sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was suspended from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after testing positive for THC, despite using it legally to cope with her mother's death. Richardson’s suspension sparked widespread debate about the fairness and relevance of anti-doping regulations concerning cannabis.

Similarly, NBA and NFL players have long contended with suspensions and fines related to cannabis use, even as many states move towards legalization. These cases highlight the ongoing conflict between evolving societal norms around cannabis and the stringent policies still upheld in sports.

Ortiz’s suspension not only shines a light on the challenges athletes face in regions where medicinal cannabis use is legal but also raises questions about the consistency and fairness of anti-doping rules on a global scale.

Cover image made with AI

This article is from an external unpaid contributor. It does not represent Benzinga's reporting and has not been edited for content or accuracy.


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Posted In: CannabisSportsMarketsGeneralCoraly OrtizPuerto RicoSha'Carri Richardson
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