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Rebagliati’s free the weed campaign aims to show Wada ban is all to pot | Andy Bull

Moral and medical arguments for banning cannabis use in sport have fallen away and former Olympic snowboarder Ross Rebagliati wants the authorities to take note

In the years after he gave up snowboarding, Ross Rebagliati tried selling real estate, running a ski school, working as the director of sport at a winter resort and standing as the Liberal Party candidate for Okanagan-Coquihalla, until, in 2013, he finally decided to get in to the marijuana business. Which made sense, because Rebagliati got famous when he won the gold in the giant slalom at the Nagano Olympics in 1998 and infamous two days later when the IOC stripped him of his medal and kicked him out of the Games because he had tested positive for cannabis. So a couple of decades later he decided to start flogging pot under the brand name Ross’ Gold.

What happened to Rebagliati seemed particularly cruel because he had given up smoking dope before the Games started. His friends had not been so careful and he had breathed in second-hand smoke. “Unlike Bill Clinton,” Jay Leno told him on the Tonight Show, “you inhaled but you didn’t smoke”. Rebagliati was the first snowboarder to win an Olympic gold medal. It should have set him up for life, only no one wanted to put a stoner on the front of a cereal box. “Cannabis back then was seen as being for losers,” Rebagliati told the New York Times, “The big corporate sponsors didn’t want to sponsor me.”

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