Singaporean Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling has been banned from international competitions for the remainder of his mandatory National Service (NS) conscript following his confession to cannabis use in May.
The swimmer is currently serving a mandatory sentence in the Singaporean Army. “Schooling will no longer be eligible for leave or disruption to train or compete while in national service,” the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that he will be placed on a supervised urine test regime for six months.
Schooling’s Cannabis Use
When Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling defeated American Michael Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly at the 2016 Olympics, he made history. But now, his career is at stake.
Schooling’s triumph on a global stage was not enough to save him from harsh punishment by the Singaporean government, which has banned him from competition for admitting to marijuana usage, despite passing his state-administered drug test. His punishment is an example of how strict laws in Singapore can affect athletes’ careers.
The 27-year-old swimmer admitted to using marijuana to cope with the recent death of his father. He has also said he tested positive for cannabis use after using it as a painkiller during training. Schooling has passed drug tests since then, but officials say they will investigate further before making any decisions about his eligibility for competition.
Cannabis In Singapore
Singapore has some of the toughest laws in Asia: you can’t even chew gum there! But this year, officials legalized medical marijuana under very strict conditions, a move that could potentially open up the country to a recreational market.
Singapore’s strict laws on drugs, including cannabis, are based on concerns about safety and crime. The government has argued that its proximity to the Golden Triangle—a popular worldwide transit point and market for drug trafficking—is a major factor in their decision to enforce such strict laws.
Singapore has made it clear they’re not going to tolerate any kind of illegal activity from their nationals, especially when they’re representing the country abroad, and there will be no exceptions.
Athletes And Cannabis Around The World
In a world where athletes are in the spotlight and under constant scrutiny, it can be hard for them to feel comfortable about using cannabis as a part of their training. But this isn’t just an Asian problem—this happens all around the world.
Sha’Carri Richardson, an American track star, was banned from competing at the Olympics for engaging in legal recreational marijuana usage. In swimming, Italian sprinter Andrea Vergani and US National Teamer Tate Jackson have been served suspensions for marijuana use. Michael Phelps also served a three-month ban after a picture of him hitting a bong surfaced online.
As a nation, Singapore is making an example out of Schooling. They are telling their citizens no one is above the law, and transgressions will result in swift punishment.
This ruling class power trip is based on their anti-cannabis bias. The ruling class wants to keep their streets clean and drug-free, they want to separate themselves from the drug trafficking so popular in the area, and they want everyone watching to know not to mess with them.
The unfortunate part about this situation is Schooling could have lied about his cannabis use and gotten away with it; however he chose to be honest and is now being publicly humiliated for it. His career is potentially ruined and his life in Singapore will never be the same again.
Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us every week at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!