So the greatest Olympic athlete in history smoked a bong. They’ve got the pictures to prove it. If you haven’t seen at least one, you haven’t been awake. So what?
In California, the medical efficacy of marijuana has been legally recognized, not just by the doctors who regularly prescribe it for a host of conditions, from stage 4 cancer to chronic pain, but by the patients who in some cases owe their lives to it. What’s more, California voters have endorsed medical use since the landmark 1996 approval of prop. 215.
But that’s not all. Recreational use, as Phelps is guilty of, has been shown in repeated studies to be non-addictive and relatively harmless. If Phelps had a few beers and a shot or two at that notorious party, he no doubt did himself more damage by drinking that night than he did by smoking.
But it’s the smoking he’s ashamed of and apologizing for. At this point, we have to wonder why he’s so sorry. This is a gifted, disciplined athlete who has made an indelible mark on Olympic history. You don’t achieve that kind of status by being gullible, stupid and immature. Indeed, his performance in the pool has given him a credibility beyond dispute.
I read today that South Carolina was considering filing charges against him. That’s more than a little hypocritical, considering that S.C. is the very heart of the tobacco industry. If public safety is the concern, why not file some charges against Philip Morris? Obviously, public safety is not the issue.
Phelps may lose some endorsements over this whole affair. That’s fine with me. I’ve seen him in enough ads and commercials already. I’ve be willing to bet that he’s got more than enough cash on hand to get him through the year. Which is much more than I can say for myself or most of the people I know. If it means he has to get a job, perhaps at the Philip Morris factory, that’s fine with me also.
But what I don’t like is his instant caving-in to the force of darkness. Those who, despite all the evidence, continue to regard marijuana as some sort of evil secret. It’s been with us for tens of thousands of years, and in all that time there are no records of anyone dying from smoking pot. The health and mental benefits are obvious. Anyone who disagrees with that is willfully ignoring the evidence, and seeking to perpetuate a system based on ignorance, fear, and propaganda-mostly from the pharmaceutical industry, which has consistently lobbied to keep pot illegal.
Pot is neither immoral nor dangerous, unless you happen to get caught transporting or growing some with the proper licensing, in which case you could end up losing all your property and getting tossed in jail. That is the biggest danger involved with smoking a bong.
The thing is, Phelps know this. Denouncing his own behavior is pure gutlessness. It’s high time people stood up for their rights. If he’s going to be a role model, why not model freedom?