Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Attitudes Changing About Atheletes And Pot

CNN: Potheads Support Phelps

While there is nothing new to a story about a famous athelete getting caught with drugs, attitudes clearly seem to be shifting about the recreational use of Marijuana by anyone from atheletes to executives. Everyone has read or seen reports that Michael Phelps, the exceptional Olympic swimmer, was caught in a photo smoking a bong at a party. The consequences range from Phelps loosing commercial endorsements, to the local police in the city where "the crime" occured trying to arrest him.
What a joke. What arrogant bluster. Even the former police chief of Seattle Norm Stamper, now an anti-prohibition activist has slammed both the County Sheriff in North Carolina but also told Kellogs that he would not use their products anymore for dropping their endorsement of Phelps.
Across the globe in Japan, another similar scandal erupted when a number of Sumo wrestlers were banned from the sport also due to pot use. Wow; can you imagine a four-hundred-pound Sumo stoner with the munchies? Now let me say this: Japan is a much more rigid society than the United States, and traditionally Sumo has been linked to a quasi-Shinto type of spiritual ceremony of pureness or such stuff. I can almost understand that.
But U.S. atheletes are under no such constraints. In fact, nobody could ever claim that pot is a performance enhancing drug.
More reasonably, one could argue that the use of small amounts of pot could unburden the athelete of performance anxiety, provide effective pain relief, and negate the need for any pharmaceutical anti-depressents that half of society seems to use these days. Let's face it, atheletes are into peak experiances, and recreational use of non-addictive herbs like pot, or even mind-expanding mushrooms fit that category. An argument could be made that with sensible use, these natural drugs could help produce not only a better athelete, but a more open, understanding and aware individual.
So Come on Michael Phelps! Be true to your self! While you have said publicly that you have learned from your mistakes, you have not specifically mentioned pot smoking. Why not just come out as a spokesman for decriminalization of pot? Why not bring this discussion into the same televisions in the same homes in America that cheered for you at the Olympics? Are you not still an American hero?


Dan Prager said...

Rat says: "[N]obody could ever claim that pot is a performance enhancing drug."

Except in competitive eating!

More seriously: There is evidence that cannabis use can trigger psychotic episodes in some people. Prime risk factors: personal or family history of psychotic illness; use of stronger forms of cannabis; heavy and prolonged use. Reference aimed at health workers.

ted said...

Given the Shintoistic purity element in Sumo, Japanese society is willing to forgive these athletes if, and only if, it was really good shit.

Dojo Rat said...

Yes, I am not trying to say every athelete or person benifits from smoking pot. I am not advocating that at all. I am just playing Devil's advocate in these times of change.
Any psychoactive drug, such as Prozac or a number of others can cause problems with certain people. Now they are admitting that anti-depressants can lead people to murderous rage or suicide.
I mainly think the Phelps case is much about nothing.
Man, I gotta find some pizza or cookies or something...

Dan Prager said...

Rat: I think we're pretty much on the same side here.

I would agree that all drugs -- licit and illicit -- have benefits and risks. In Australia we have significant social problems with binge-drinking and alcohol-related violence. By contrast, it used to be possible to prescribe heroin for pain-relief -- not any more!

Hand2Hand said...

I'm no fan of pot. But, the claims of pot's dangers have been so exaggerated it isn't funny. The only reason it's still illegal is because some right-wing types are still fighting the cultural wars they lost in the 1960's.

Tobacco and alcohol have killed more people than marijuana ever could, yet they're legal.

Come to think of it, McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's have sent more people to early graves than marijuana ever could, yet they remain legal, too.

Let's stop sending people to prison for consensual crimes and use the space for real criminals who do real harm to society. We could start with those white collar financiers who've brought us to the brink of the next Great Depression. Or those people who lied to get us into war in Iraq.

Dojo Rat said...

"We could start with those white collar financiers who've brought us to the brink of the next Great Depression. Or those people who lied to get us into war in Iraq"

I totally agree,, Brother H2H!