Any human being who can achieve the goal of competing in the Olympics is, in at least some ways and by definition, extraordinary. Beyond that, an athlete who can totally dominate his event and set world’s records for gold medals is all that much more remarkable. That is exactly what swimmer Michael Phelps did in capturing 8 gold medals in last summer’s Beijing Olympics 2008. Now this athletic hero is being castigated and attacked from some sides for using cannabis, after a photo of him surfaced toking on a pot-fueled bong.
Since there is not much wrong with Olympian Michael Phelps, maybe there is something wrong with the prohibitions he broke. Obviously, recreational use of cannabis is not incompatible with great, even epic achievement. Michael Phelps is a poster-boy for ambitious, high-achieving cannabis users. The federal propaganda claiming marijuana causes an “amotivational syndrome” are belied, quite tangibly, by 8 shining gold medals.
More seriously, Phelps is reported to have used a far more dangerous drug at the same party. Unlike cannabis, beer is associated with violence and antisocial activity. Although cannabis does not have a lethal dose, the lethal dose of alcohol is just a few times that of recreational dose, and fatal alcohol overdoses are common. Strangely, the advertisers who would not raise an eyebrow at Michael Phelps’ use of alcohol may abandon him for a picture of him sampling a SAFER alternative, cannabis.