For Olympic star, pot is gold – Society over-reacting to Michael Phelps issue

First published in the Lethbridge College Endeavour, Feb. 11, 2009

The sporting world remains in a state of mourning after the horrific and shocking news that Olympic hero Michael Phelps smokes marijuana.

I know what you’re thinking. What has become of this world? How are we as a society supposed to continue to progress with such evil existing right in front of our eyes?

What’s next, Tiger Woods gets a seatbelt ticket? No wait; don’t tell me, Sidney Crosby caught throwing a pop can in the garbage? I don’t know if I could stand that kind of pain.

What I’m trying to say is, who cares?

I love how society takes professional athletes who smoke weed and throws them in the same category as the ones who rape, murder, bathe in cocaine, pump themselves full of horse steroids, gamble on their own teams, beat and cheat on their wives, fire bullets into their thighs, host canine death matches and lie in court.

Are we are supposed to chastise this kid, who by the way is the greatest Olympian of all time, because he smoked a plant? Seriously?

His reputation is forever tarnished and you’ll likely never see him discussed on TV again without the mention of weed. He is now, and will always be, Michael Phelps the pothead.

I, for one, think we’re going about this all wrong. Maybe he should be praised. I mean it’s not like lungs full of pot smoke made the kid more aerodynamic in the pool. How he managed eight gold medals without so much as a bag of chips between laps is pretty astonishing actually.

I fully understand that marijuana is against the law and people should respect the laws of the land but if you can be the fastest swimmer alive and still smoke the reefer, that’s impressive.

My point is some laws mean a little more than others, or at least they should.

Most of them have logic. Don’t steal, kill people, or file false taxes. Th ese are laws that make sense and no one is going to argue their worth. But, with all due respect to our wise law-making governments, the illegalization of marijuana is lacking a little logic.

Actually, it’s downright laughable.

As long as we live in a society that allows cigarettes, alcohol and NASCAR, it will remain impossible to convince me as to why marijuana is prohibited. Th e government will always preach that laws are made for the protection of the people, but if that were actually true, nicotine, booze and wasting gas in a speeding circle would be highly illegal.

Unfortunately, the governments make far too much money in the sale of cancer sticks, liver-failing juice and non-renewable resources to really worry about your health.

But don’t worry; they’ll continue to protect you from the horrible evils of cannabis.

Granted, marijuana has not been responsible for a single death in roughly 10, 000 years of existence, and cigarettes and alcohol kill thousands daily, but if your government says it’s bad for you, then they must be right.

If you sat on the couch and drank a shot of vodka every five minutes, you would be dead by the six o’ clock news. If you sat on the couch and smoked weed every five minutes, the worst problem you’d face is eating stale crackers because you’re too lazy to go to the store.

So instead of exiling one of the greatest athletes in history because he likes to use some of his spare time to get stoned, let’s cut the kid some slack. He’s still a fantastic athlete and he’s still a better role model than most.

Now, if we find out he’s getting in the pool without waiting an hour after smoking, we’ll have a real problem.

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