Weed out the drug war

First published by The Daily Texan on Monday, February 9, 2009

Last week, the tabloid News of the World published a picture of swimmer Michael Phelps using a bong to smoke marijuana at a University of South Carolina party. By smoking pot, Phelps set a wrong example for his younger fans. He should have known that smoking pot has several adverse affects such as getting munchies and losing corporate endorsements or one’s celebrity status. However, Phelps’ most appalling action was apologizing for smoking pot. According to several studies, nearly one out of two Americans and most college students have smoked marijuana. This includes President Barack Obama and his two predecessors, Justice Clarence Thomas, Newt Gingrich and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Most people who smoke marijuana do recreationally, similar to those who drink alcohol.

Rather than apologizing, Phelps should admit that like millions of other successful Americans, he smokes marijuana in moderation and evidently it has not affected his athletic performance. He should speak out against the failed war on drugs and the absurd and hypocritical laws that in 2007, resulted in the arrest of more than 700,000 Americans just for the possession of marijuana.

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