Michael Phelps smokes pot. I want everyone who cares even one little bit to give me a call. He’s 23, famous, an 8-time gold-medal winner and has the lung capacity of two regular humans. Wouldn’t you smoke some weed too? In a reaction to the now-infamous bong picture, USA Swimming has suspended him for three months and Kellogg’s has dropped his endorsement contract. The worst part was Phelps’s pathetic apology. The poor guy had to pretend he was sorry in public, and no one (besides Ted Haggert) should have to do that.
It’s unclear whether Phelps will face charges but even Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) said he wouldn’t prosecute the kid. That brings a few questions to mind. Does Leahy believe we should prosecute non-famous Americans for possession? If not, how is this not a statement in favor of decriminalization? Among all the (although legitimate) hubbub about how outrageous it is for what Phelps is being put through, I wonder why there’s no such outrage for the everyday victims of the drug war. From the teenager who gets sent to jail for smoking a joint to the elderly glaucoma victim unable to access the best medicine, criminalization’s victims are mostly not famous athletes. If we could just transition from this celebrity gossip to a real conversation about America’s drug policies, I’d really appreciate it.