Why Condemn Phelps, When We Ought to Condemn the Laws That Brand Him A Criminal
via The Hill‘s Congress blog
[excerpt] Add decorated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to the growing list of successful Americans who happens to indulge in marijuana during his down time. The tabloid news story is making international headlines, though it’s difficult to understand why.
… Sure, there will be some who will say that this latest chapter in Phelp’s life is deserving of criticism because the 14-time gold medalist is sending a poor message to young children. And what message would that be? That you can occasionally smoke marijuana and still be successful in life. Well sorry if the truth hurts.
Fact is, most Americans who use pot do so for the same reasons — and in the same manner — as do those who drink alcohol. According to a recent University of Alberta study, the majority of adults who use cannabis do so recreationally to “enhance relaxation.” Researchers concluded: “[M]ost adult marijuana users regulate use to their recreational time and do not use compulsively. Rather, their use is purposely intended to enhance their leisure activities and manage the challenges and demands of living in contemporary modern society. Generally, participants reported using marijuana because it enhanced relaxation and concentration, making a broad range of leisure activities more enjoyable and pleasurable.”
No doubt Michael Phelps indulged in the use of marijuana for these very same reasons. He ought not to be condemned for it nor branded a criminal for his actions.
For that matter, neither should anyone else.
As I’ve written before, The Hill is widely read by lawmakers and by the mainstream media, and previous posts by NORML have elicited national press coverage. Therefore, it is vital that we demonstrate the popularity of the marijuana legalization issue by commenting prolifically. Please post your feedback to The Hill and make a point of disseminating this essay to your friends and colleagues.