The Hill: Why Condemn Phelps, When We Ought To Condemn The Laws That Brand Him A Criminal

Become a Pot-Smoking Athlete!Well, once again it’s time to give folks on Capitol Hill a dose of ‘reefer reality.’
This morning NORML is taking our message to lawmakers in Washington, DC via the highly influential blog.

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.

0 thoughts

  1. No wonder why he is in the olympics. I have had more success smoking marijuana for my physical health too. I remember dreading running. Til I smoke and was running 25 miles a week. Then I started biking 2-4 days a week, at least 25 miles on top of running. In fact, one day I rode my BMX single speed for a total of 42 miles in one afternoon. Marijuana does not make you lazy. Joe Rogan said it best “No, you were lazy and started smoking pot, which makes you a pot smoking, lazy loser…” Kudos to Phelps, and Lance, god knows he might have toked a time or two.

  2. The demonizing of Phelps is disgusting. It’s always the children! the children! who is looking out for the children! The amount of rights we have given up to “to protect the children” is sad. Which is ironic because the prohibition of marijuana is actually putting our children in greater danger. Does anyone else think that marijuana prohibition just might be a major reason teen prescription drug abuse is on the rise?

  3. Thanks guys. I was worried for a while that you were not seizing the opportunity that this situation has provided. Michael deserves our continued encouragement and not public defamation. The one who could be argued as the top athlete to ever live has identified himself in our ranks. It is only right to embrace him and do all we can to provide him with whatever support he needs.

  4. “That you can occasionally smoke marijuana and still be successful in life.”
    Lawmakers…what can u say about that comment???
    i Bet the Truth is haunting you now LOL

  5. Looks like the sherrif in Richland county where this all happened is going to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law! Ban alcohol and save innocent lives. I think we have a bigger problem out there than marijuana , I believe its called PEANUT BUTTER!!! It certainly kills more people. I speak from persoal experience when I say I have caused 100 times more harm to myself and others by using alcohol than I ever have using marijuana. So I quit using alcohol December first 1990 and everyone I know and don’t know is better off. So ban booze if you really care about society.

  6. Want to really get there attention. Read this
    news?slug=ap-phelps-sponsors&prov=ap&type=lgns. Support the business that say “no big deal”, Boycott those that cut him off. Only ONE this matters to elected office holders VOTES.
    Only one thing matters to corporations, SALES.

  7. I heard a news report witch said Phelps was going to be charged criminally over this bullshit.

  8. Can you believe that backwards SC sheriff is attempting to charge him over a photo? god forbid he searches on myspace! ha.
    i say pull up his contact info, and flood his phone lines and inbox.

  9. While watching the Olympics Phelp’s mother commented that Michael had ADHD (or ADD, I forget which). This disorder was one of her main reasons for getting him into swimming.
    There’s been documented research regarding the positive effects of marijuana on this particular disorder. So,Michael…this could be a HUGE statement if you get my drift.

  10. Ok then, lets see how this works, Now I hear about an hour ago, they are going to try and charge him with criminal charges? Did anyone stop to think that the way he lives his life is what got him where he is. If that makes sense, I mean MAYBE If he wasnt a smoker, he may never have been a gold medalist! Think about it!

  11. I do not believe that Michael Phelps’ use of pot should degrade him as a human being; not one bit. How many gold medals has he won for our great country? He is a decent, well-respected citizen; this should not be taken away from him. George Washington, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and many other leaders/founders of our nation have used the plant for recreational enjoyment; not to mention our last three presidents, including our current. The legalization of marijuana would cut down on a great deal of gangland funding, border-war drug problems, overcrowding of prisons, and possibly supply the government with a new income from sales taxes. This would help the economy, though critics will say this is just an ignorant stoner’s desparate attempt to convince the general public. The ending of prohibition of alcohol put a quick end to many of the mob bootleggers’ fundings from alcohol and I believe it will do the same to a large percentage of our nation’s urban terrorists/”gangs”, forcing them to go to school and get real jobs. Then the DEA and ATF will be able to put more effort into fighting serious drugs and suppliers which can literally destroy people’s lives and families.

  12. Marijuana is a highly addictive drug . It leads to crack cocaine , heroin and morphine . Once someone gets high on it they often go out and commit murder just for the joy of it . My step brother took one puff of this deadly drug and that’s all it took for him to jump out of the 12th story building we lived at . May he rest in peace . No one can safely drive on this deadly drug without falling asleep or swerving all over the road while halucinating wild animals , including imaginary elephants that a person high on deadly marijuana thinks are running loose all over the highway . Ha , Ha….gotcha’! I’m just practicing for April fools day . In fact , that’s not even my name . ha Ha .

  13. Why is it that when a sports figure has his hand in the cookie jar and gets caught, they revert back to the children? I bet Phelps had sport hero when he was young. So what if he was smoking pot, a non-toxic plant that a lot of sport figures smoke. At least it was not crack or any other hard drug. The Killer drugs that people get addicted to and at times go beyond the limit where life is no more. I hope the state I live in has pro pot laws in the future, so I can flick my Bic and not feel like a CRIMINAL. Remember we were all children at one time.

  14. When a guy like Phelps admits to using pot, I think it does a lot. I hate to admit it but the public (myself included) responds to celebrities. I am sick of feeling like a criminal for smoking a plant that relieves my pain and nausea. It allows me to eat and function better than anything I have ever been prescribed. I can show you all the studies in the world about the medicinal benefits of marijuana, but in today’s society a pic like this of some celeb probably has more of an impact. So thank you Michael Phelps for being dumb and getting yourself caught. You brought me one step closer to legal access to a better quality of life.

  15. To the posters who suggest banning alcohol, I think that that would be the wrong strategy. Better yet, have pot and alcohol on the same legal grounds, and let the individual consumer make his or her own choice. I happen to believe that more would choose weed than booze, and I suspect that most people posting here would agree.

  16. Mr And Mrs Burns. Your Step brother was smoking more than marajuana if he saw elephants etc… Some people are born to suffer the fate of darwins law no matter what you may do. You need to research more before you make uninformed comments about a substance you so obviously don’t have a handle on. K thx.

  17. GET THE BIG PICTURE. greed,control.much same as the emperor wears no clothes story but in these times .the drug companies want all the money. they want you sick.we all know they are crooks.weed stands in there way as other herbs see greed money and power do not want wonder herbs around . ya so they can use a swim star to do it every little thing they can to make it look bad ,but a swim star got all those metals smoking weed they cant explain that one.its all brain washing tec.they dont care about you only there profits.just like monosanto and there poison gm foods.ya look out for chem trails we are getting sprayed by military jets i seen massive sprayings in philly on monday ,and i did not feel quite right after .animals and plants out door crops of what ever getting sprayed as well with military chaff ,chem trails,protest have been going on and still they spray and deny it like we are all blind, very scary.we are lab rats to them.and when they declare martial law when the illusive econemy crashes and the riots start and military is all over with road will be charged as a terrorist for smoking pot or for any non felony charge as well or how i am speaking out against there genocide .put into femma detention .and i am not making this up,i wish i were!start studying this new world order crap,as i have for a few monthes .it will make your guts churn.every one thinks obama is here to save us.people are in for a rude awake.the government is being run by the same crooks that are destroying us so they can put in there nwo plan of depopulation,and control,enslaving mankind they even want to micro chip the left over people and watch your every move.and if you dont go along with there criminal agenda you will be called a terrorist and put in femma ,we know who the real terrorist are they are!look at 911, thermite and bombs were used do you really think middle east terrorist could have planted all this in crawl spaces,and also the government always trying to cover this up.and the 3 building collapse no plane even hit it but yet there was a molten pool there for 2 weeks,it was thermite used with sulfer added to the mix cuts steel like a hot knife in butter. they are robbing the people your tax money is turned into death money and they are getting away with it,as people rot in jail for some herb that grows in ditches,they are getting away with this!i hope every person that reads this looks into it and spreads the word!! you will say off with there heads!

  18. Keep pressing on, people!
    We’re growing stronger and stronger every day in our fight against prohibition. Legalization could come sooner than you think.
    Continue to write to your representatives! Show them the facts and your sources to back them up. The info is out there. All we have to do is present it to them.

  19. I couldn’t have said it better myself…. Everyone here has helped collectively make all of the same arguements that I, along with many friends, have made for years. The prohibition of Marijuana in this country is ludicrous. Science has already proven that smoking pot is not only less harmful than booze, but in fact has many proven medical benefits that alcohol will never have. When will this backwards, misguided way of thinking ever end in this country? Aren’t we supposed to be the progressive leaders of the free world?
    Legalize it…. Tax it…. Regulate it…. It takes the criminal element out of it (gangs/mafia/overcrowded prisons), tax it just like cigarettes & booze so that Uncle Sam gets his cut, and regulate it so we can get quality pot, instead of “pot luck”, hoping that this bag is better than the last crap! How nice would it be if we could all just go down to the corner store and buy a pack of joints when we want, just like smokers can with cigarettes??
    And for crying out loud, they need to quit picking on Michael Phelps…. That whole thing is shameful. God forbid he take a bong hit! The media is acting like he killed someone. The rest of the world is laughing at us…. Its time for people to wake up and move into the 21st century.

  20. If the media outlets and figures who keep emphasizing what a “poor message Phleps was sending to children” TRULY cared first and foremost about children, then they would deal with this in a low-key manner instead of plastering the picture in every public forum imaginable. But that’s right, they don’t care about the kids at all in this mess – they care more about derailing a man’s life for the purposes of selling a few magazines or gaining a few website hits.

  21. Phelps is an American Hero, to bad we live in a country that cares more about making criminals then honoring someone for the good and honor they brought to there country. Phelps brought home the gold x 8 and accomplished what only 1 other has. In your honor Mr. Phelps, let me load the first bowl. You are still a hero, congradulations for your accomplishments.
    Its time to set term limits to bring in represenatives that live in todays times. We keep electing these old fogies and then complain about there old fashion idea’s. They can’t help but to be ot of touch with today. Unfortunately Obama doesn’t seem to be the friend we thought he would be, thus a recent drop by
    %20 in popularity.

  22. when I breakdance, theres nothing better than to get blazed right beforehand. nothing puts you in the zone like a zone of reefer (not literally, i cant even afford that much!)

  23. Kellogg’s drops Phelps so Boycott Kellogg’s
    Say no to Kellogg’s next time you get the munchies!

  24. Kelloggs cereal has announced it will not renew MPs contract, because of his ‘transgressions’. Everyone who cares about this issue should email the VP of of marketing and tell him that you will not be buying their products anymore because of their position.
    Email and let him know how you feel, I did.
    TAKE A STAND! Tell everyone you know, we can make a difference.

  25. [quote]Lt. Chris Cowan said Tuesday that sheriff’s investigators were gathering more information about the photo, but declined to discuss details of the investigation.
    In Richland County, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor — punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a $570 fine, the Post reported.[/quote]
    This is from one of the articles… What a waste of taxpayers money. If they put 3 people on this case for one day the amount that they pay the investigators for that day will be more than the maximum they can charge for the crime. WTF??? If they put him in jail for the 30 days, that is another 2000 dollars wasted. Plus paying for the Judge, States Attorney, jury, stenographer… Are they… I don’t want to say retarded because that would be offensive to slow people… I dunno what to call it, but it is not right! The only reason they are making a big deal out of this is because it is solid proof that smoking marijuana is COMPLETELY SAFE! The sky is green, the grass is blue, marijuana is bad for you…
    I encourage everyone to send that sheriff an email on how wasteful he is with the peoples resources. I already did.

  26. Due to the power of the Internet, the Gov’t can no longer keep people in the dark ages with their ignorant propaganda. People, We now have the power!!! Utilize it!!! Band together!!! Five minutes a day on everyone’s part could make a huge difference. Lets swamp our elected officials with mail of all kinds (email, voice mail, etc…) letting them know their promises might have gotten them elected but if they’re not kept, then there will be no one re-elected. Out with the incumbents and show them we mean business!!! Do away with all the old cronies of capitol hill!!!

  27. Since Michael Phelps is not going to be too busy being famous now, Maybe he should help fight for the cause. With his reputation as a champion, he would make a great spokesman for NORML.

  28. There is a hypocrisy that I haven’t seen correlated my the media; the DEA considers MJ a debilitating drug as documented in their propaganda, while the sports industry’s Anti-Doping Agency condemns performance enhancing drugs. So if anything this just disproves the DEA’s stance.

  29. This is too funny:
    on page 9:
    Alcohol (ethanol) is prohibited In-Competition only, in the following sports. Detection will be conducted by analysis of breath and/or blood. The doping violation threshold (haematological values) is 0.10 g/L.
    • Aeronautic (FAI)
    • Archery (FITA, IPC)
    • Automobile (FIA)
    • Boules (IPC bowls)
    • Karate (WKF)
    • Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) for disciplines involving shooting
    • Motorcycling (FIM)
    • Ninepin and Tenpin Bowling (FIQ)
    • Powerboating (UIM)
    So go ahead and drink till you puke for any of the other allowed sports, we’ll even show commercials for it if you’ll “enjoy responsibly”. Ya right!

  30. Me and my wife decided yesterday 2 Boycott Kellogg cerals. The stoner blog above me is right. TELL EVERYONE U KNO!!!!…uh..WE can make a difference. And I, myself have laid off the booze cuz of past less than honorable moments while under it’s persuasion. Ya know what ol’ RICO always says at a time like this: You can either booze&snooze or raise with the blaze…………

  31. go to and sent them this email:
    Good Day,
    I am writing to inform Kelloggs that because the company has chosen to further mislead the public by perpetuating a failed war on marijuana, and reinstilling fear and paranoia over a harmless herb by dropping Michael Phelps as a spokesperson for Kelloggs that I will never purchase one of your products ever again.

  32. Here is the email I sent to the VP of marketing at Kelloggs
    Subject: Michael Phelps
    Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2009 02:16:00 +0800
    Dear Mr. Woodall,
    Just to inform you, because of your position on the issue of Phelps
    Smoking from a Bong, I will no longer be buying any Kellogg’s
    Products. I find it appaulling that you would drop this guy’s
    contract for smoking a little Cannabis, A Plant. Would you prefer he
    drink a pint of Jim Beam instead? Get drunk, crash a car, and maybe
    kill some one? The only message he sent to the entire public
    was “It is ok to smoke Cannabis and still achieve GRRRREATNESS!!!”

  33. Sent to Kellogg Company this morning 2-6-09
    “I am writing this because more than 1/3 of the american population smokes marijuana, many of us for medical reasons. I shall contact ASA(Americans for Safe Access) and CANORML and ask that collectively we boycott Kellogg Comany for their blatant discrimination against those that smoke marijuana. I have been a life long product user of Kellog Company, but I can survive on someone elses product.”

  34. Listen pot is somthing everyone has used once i meen got the damn indians used it we for god sakes should be allowed to i believe this is shit what they do u take a hit u fucking branded as a pothead peer pressure a B***H and i hope the meadia stops bombimng on phelps we all do it even the channel 5 news anchors probly done it SO GIVE IT UP AND LEAVE THE MAN ALOWN

  35. I live in michigan and called kellogg’s and told them that my family and i will not be using their products. until they change . what people do on their Owen time is their Owen business.

  36. It is astounding how many famous people that have used cannabis in thier lives and thru out their careers with absolutely no problems with the choice they have made to use cannabis and then those who have been made public because of cannabis use becomes fodder by hypocrites and moralists who more than likely drink,consume tobacco,coffee or addicted to porn or prescription drugs.
    When you watch shows like celebrity rehab or Intervention, the substance of abuse is always alcohol, precscription drugs, meth, coke or something else and not cannabis.It was either used in conjunction with the others but cannabis was not the addiction that the patients were adressing in rehab.
    I have only seen one episode with one patient.
    But cannabis is always is an easy scapegoat when the word drugs is used in that context to make the correlation. Especially the word marijuana, as its origins and beginings are from the prohibitionists of that era using racial overtones to stigmatize and label the mexican workers and that has carried over today.
    When someone is caught with cannabis they are charged with a marijuana crime, guilty by word association.The word marijuana has connotations from that past propaganda.It is like when one is arrested and the mugshot is always taken to show the suspect dirty, greasy, and dishoveled because it equals guilt unless you are Lindsay or Paris who always look good in their mugshot when they had trouble consuming alcohol.
    Michael Phelps is the new whipping boy for the hypocritical ethics and rationales of the moralists and prohibitionists. They must disparage him to justify thier beliefs that when you use cannabis you will be worthless to society because of this history of conditioning and propagnda says it is fact but Mr. Phelps has proven them and this theory wrong.
    Michael Phelps is the antithesis to all of this propagnada and conditioning.Look at what you can accomplish with the assistance of cannabis,
    a world class athlete and a gold medal world record holder not a leach on society as the moralists and prohibitionists would have you believe.
    He will be crucified for not following or behaving in the pretext of the propaganda set forth to one being so successful in this society.
    He has confirmed the war on cannabis is the biggest hypocritical lie ever perpetuated by the goverment and those who justify their professions on this war on drugs.
    He has shattered the stereotype and the belief system of those who will maintain the window dressing of moralists and prohibitionists and the war on drugsas they will follow thier conditioning and propaganda to the debts of hell knowing full well on their way down the abyss that they are foolish and no longer the majority.
    The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself. ~Jane Addams
    The devil loves nothing better than the intolerance of reformers. ~James Russell Lowell

  37. This comes from a company whose product Frosted Flakes, in which the cardboard box has more nutrtion value than the corn flakes it contains.

Leave a Reply