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

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 3, 2009

    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 Hill.com blog.

    Why Condemn Phelps, When We Ought to Condemn the Laws That Brand Him A Criminal
    via The Hill‘s Congress blog


    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.

    57 responses to “The Hill: Why Condemn Phelps, When We Ought To Condemn The Laws That Brand Him A Criminal”

    1. Kevin says:

      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. tim tom says:

      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. Jake says:

      Keep up the good work. I dropped a post on The Hill in support.

    4. Cody says:

      Well said. Smoking a plant as harmless as marijuana should be at the discretion of the smoker.

    5. Mike D says:

      Great job Paul, this article is perfect. Now everyone go post on The Hill under comments.

    6. RMH says:

      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.

    7. Jeff says:

      “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

    8. mr reuben says:

      It’s getting ridiculous now. Some Sheriff wants to charge Phelps for marijuana use if he can prove the photo was taken within his jurisdiction. Here is a link to the story.

    9. Gregory says:

      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.

    10. Vote like a Beast says:

      Want to really get there attention. Read this http://sports.yahoo.com/top/
      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.