Stop The Reefer Madness!

Stop The Reefer Madness!
Posted by CN Staff on February 06, 2009 at 19:32:10 PT
By Steve Almond 
Source: Boston Globe 
Boston, MA -- You have no doubt seen by now - several hundred times - the photo of gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps sucking on a bong.As might be expected in our age of manufactured sanctimony, the pundits have gone into overdrive on the Olympic icon. "This is a sad day for Phelps," Christine Brennan moaned, in that vaunted organ of conventional wisdom, USA Today, "and a sadder day for the millions of parents and young athletes who planned their lives around his races last August. How disappointed must they be that a glorious hero, a person in whom they placed their trust, has done something illegal for which he must apologize?"
Yes, I'm sure all those kids are just absolutely devastated, Christine. Perhaps we should get them some grief counseling before they drown themselves in the shallow end. I mean: What a shocker! A 23-year-old dude who's been under intense pressure since he was wearing water wings actually chose to smoke pot. The horror.As far as I'm concerned, Michael Phelps now has the chance to establish himself as a genuine American hero. Not by winning more gold medals. Those victories, inspiring as they may be, are a matter of personal athletic accomplishment.No, what Phelps could do now - with a little courage - is to retract the phony apology he issued to his fans (at the behest of his sponsors) and admit that he uses pot in moderation and sees no reason why such behavior, when practiced by adults in a responsible manner, should be criminalized by politicians, or vilified by professional scolds like Brennan.After all, smoking up in a dorm room is a far healthier response to stress than getting behind the wheel of a car drunk, as Phelps did four years ago. That DUI arrest was a legitimate cause for objection. He could have killed somebody. But getting stoned? In this day and age? Please. Just a few months ago Massachusetts residents voted overwhelmingly to decriminalize pot possession. And the people of Michigan - not exactly a hotbed of radicalism - approved a measure to legalize medical marijuana, becoming the 14th state to do so.Politicians spent years trying to make hay over the war on drugs, and diverting law enforcement resources from violent crime to pot busts. But the time has come for them to face the fact that the majority of their constituents no longer view pot as a hard drug. Period.In fact, the Phelps photo already has done wonders to debunk the Hollywood stereotype of marijuana users as Oreo-munching zombies. (See: "Cheech & Chong," "Weeds," "The Sarah Silverman Show," and any Judd Apatow film ever made.) Phelps may not be a choirboy, but nobody can accuse him of being a slacker.Nor do I consider myself a slacker, though I've been smoking marijuana since I was a teenager. Several of my most ambitious and high-achieving friends are also part-time potheads. We smoke to unwind, in the same way others drink a glass of wine with dinner. Big fat deal.My hope is that pot will eventually be legalized nationwide, and regulated by the government, which could then collect tax proceeds from this cash crop. And just imagine the job creation that would result. Finally, an economic stimulus package most Americans would endorse.The legalization of pot would also afford Phelps the chance to become a pioneer in the field of celebrity-endorsed paraphernalia. After all, who wouldn't want to buy a water pipe officially endorsed by Aquaman?Steve Almond's latest book of essays is "(Not That You Asked.)" Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author:  Steve Almond Published: February 7, 2009Copyright: 2009 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: Articles:Marijuana Ban Should Go Up In Smoke Michael Phelps!
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #22 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 06:43:42 PT
Related Article from
February 16, 2009URL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #21 posted by FoM on February 12, 2009 at 17:02:59 PT
Lawyers: Is Sheriff Too Aggressive in Phelps Case?
February 12, 2009URL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #20 posted by FoM on February 10, 2009 at 09:41:26 PT
Eight Arrested in Michael Phelps Case
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #19 posted by FoM on February 10, 2009 at 07:16:30 PT
On A Lighter Note
'Michael Phelps Got Stoned': CU Student Pokes Fun at Swimmer's Marijuana Misfortunes***Chad Neidt takes to the Web with satirical songBy Christy Fantz Monday, February 9, 2009 URL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #18 posted by FoM on February 08, 2009 at 08:41:30 PT
Storm Crow 
You're welcome. I'm glad I was able to help.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #17 posted by Storm Crow on February 08, 2009 at 08:38:30 PT
Just wanted to say ....
Thank you to FoM for getting Museman and me together. And Museman- THANK YOU! Your taking this seriously means a lot! 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #16 posted by museman on February 07, 2009 at 12:03:43 PT
Storm Crow
You have mail.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by FoM on February 07, 2009 at 09:45:13 PT
Storm Crow
All done.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by FoM on February 07, 2009 at 09:36:21 PT
Storm Crow
I'll look for your e-mail. Sometimes it's hard to find but I'll give it a try. If I find it I will send it to museman for you.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by Storm Crow on February 07, 2009 at 09:15:04 PT
I really need to talk with you! I need to get your opinion on something that may be very ugly. FoM, you have my permission to give museman my email (believe you have it from my sign up). Or alternately I can be easily reached at any of these sites- Just PM me at any of them. I don't think that they have the "minimum number of posts before you can PM" silliness. Usually, I'm the one giving help- this time I need some. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by FoM on February 07, 2009 at 08:02:38 PT
Michael Phelps
When he competes this summer at the world championships in Rome I want him to break records. I think he will channel his frustration into being even better then he was at the Olympics. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by Sam Adams on February 07, 2009 at 07:37:34 PT
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by Sam Adams on February 07, 2009 at 07:36:05 PT
I thought the four sumo wrestlers getting caught with MJ in Japan was pretty funny. They said they learned about it from seeing people smoke it in hip hop clubs, maybe we'll see a rapping sumo wrestler soon!Japan is repressive but they really party at night, apparently the night life in Tokyo is wild compared to the US.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by FoM on February 07, 2009 at 07:31:41 PT
Michael Phelps will be swimming this summer in some big event and watch the support he will get. That will be interesting to see.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by FoM on February 07, 2009 at 07:27:11 PT
I agree. Last night my nephew called me from Florida and he went off about Michael Phelps and how bad some of the radio stations are treating him. He isn't interested personally in our issue but he was angry about the hypocrisy  of our system.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on February 07, 2009 at 07:21:23 PT
at first I thought this would just be annoying tabloid fodder, now I'm starting to realize that this is big boost for cannabis legalization.Phelps smokes cannabis and he's not going to be ruined. He's a superb athlete too. This is a major propaganda blow against the govt - free advertising worth many millions. It's even better because it's also a direct strike against the corporate hegemony, the Olympics being the ultimate political symbol of corporate power. (We force you to accept China!)Kelloggs dropped him, give me me break, we didn't need that corn syrup-laden garbage anyway.I hate to say it, but it's an especially potent message because he's white. He's the hero of the suburban parenting/schooling nazis, doing just the opposite of what they want for their little status-symbol robot offspring.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on February 07, 2009 at 06:05:12 PT
Montana Medical Marijuana Article
Proponents Strike Up Bill To Ease The Rules on Medicinal Marijuana***February 7, 2009URL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 07, 2009 at 05:51:07 PT
Activists have a long way to go if we hope to see marijuana legalization. It's getting better but we're not there yet. Medical marijuana does have majority support. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by 420ned on February 07, 2009 at 02:04:43 PT:
It's so frustrating reading articles like this one because it makes so much sense and everyone knows it whether they choose to admit it or not, and yet it seems we're helpless to change the way things are. I think things are slowly changing, but the slowness is excruciating!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by observer on February 06, 2009 at 20:50:22 PT
The L Word
1979 vs 2009
Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research Americans Still Oppose Legal Marijuana February 07, 2009 (Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Most people in the United 
States disapprove of legalizing marijuana but the 
number of people who support it has decidedly increased 
since the late 1970s, according to a poll by CBS News 
and the New York Times. 41 per cent of respondents 
think the use of marijuana should be legal-up 14 points 
since July 1979-while 52 per cent want it to remain 
outlawed. The use of marijuana is illegal in the U.S. except in 
some regulated cases of medical use. The amount allowed 
for such purposes varies depending on the state. Some 
states have passed laws to reduce law enforcement for 
possession of small amounts of the substance. On Feb. 1, British tabloid News of the World published 
a picture of American Olympic swimming champion Michael 
Phelps apparently smoking marijuana. Phelps, who won 
eight gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 
issued a statement, which read: "I engaged in behaviour 
which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. 
I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in 
the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, 
not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For 
this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it 
will not happen again." Polling Data 
Do you think that the use of marijuana should be made 
legal or not? Jan. 2009 Jul. 1979 Legal 41% (2009)27% (1979)Not Legal 52% (2009) 69% (1979)Unsure 7%  (2009)4%  (1979)Source: CBS News / New York Times Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,112 American 
adults, conducted from Jan. 11 to Jan. 15, 2009. Margin 
of error is 3 per cent. 
Ok, I wish someone would indulge me and try this asking not if people are for "legalizing" (whatever that means to whomever) but, instead, ask if people are in favor of "jailing adults for using marijuana". I bet most people are not for jail.  I know I keep pounding at this point but heck, there is a reason prohibitionists frame the issue in terms in "legalizing". They want to scare them with the "L" word. Still, I am pleasantly surprised and happy 41% weren't scared off by the "L" word. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by Vincent on February 06, 2009 at 20:46:12 PT:
Agreeing with FoM
Dear FoM...
  I usually agree with you, so why should this time be any different? Perhaps because I agree with you 100%! Yo, Mr. Steve Almond, you hit the nail right on the head. This was a perfect article. Keep up the good work!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 06, 2009 at 19:57:14 PT
Just a Comment
This was an interesting article.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment