Parker on Phelps' Pot Smoking: 'A Crime That Shouldn't Be One'

Conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker advocates marijuana decriminalization (and maybe even full-scale legalization?) in a startlingly sensible piece about the Michael Phelps bong affair. A few excerpts:

Our marijuana laws have been ludicrous for as long as we've been alive....

The U.S....boasts the highest percentage of pot smokers among 17 nations surveyed, including The Netherlands, where cannabis clouds waft from coffeehouse windows. Among them are no small number of high-ranking South Carolina leaders (we knew us when), who surely cringe every time a young person gets fingered for a "crime" they themselves have committed.

Other better-known former tokers include our current president and a couple of previous ones, as well as a Supreme Court justice, to name just a few....

Understandably, parents worry that their kids will emulate their idol, but the problem isn't Phelps, who is, in fact, an adult. The problem is our laws—and our lies....

It's time to recognize that all drugs are not equal—and change the laws accordingly.

Over at The Corner, Andrew Stuttaford observes: "This broken wreck of a man's failure to win any more than a pathetic fourteen Olympic gold medals (so far) is a terrifying warning of the horrific damage that cannabis can do to someone's health—and a powerful reminder of just how sensible the drug laws really are." Nick Gillespie and Radley Balko on the Phelps flap here and here. Me on what President Obama should have learned from his youthful drug use here.

[Thanks to Robert Stratton for the tip.]

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  • ||

    Let the courting of Juanita commence.

  • BDB||

    Remember, if you use marijuana it's a slippery slope to cocaine!

    And if you use cocaine, you might end up being President of the United States!

    Three of our last three Presidents have used drugs, and two of them used cocaine. Yet we still don't change our drug laws?

  • ||

    Phelps did the 200m butterfly in 1:52:03. I want some of whatever he's smoking.

  • New World Dan||

    People, we need to remember that for every Michael Phelps out there, there are more than a dozen Ricky Williamses out underachieving. Wait, what was I saying here? Or nearly the entire NBA. Let's see you try and sort out and analyze that mess.

  • Ryan Frederick||

    It should definitely be legal.

  • Det. Shivers||

    Agreed.

  • ||

    So why are the conservatives suddenly being sensible about weed? I smell opportunism here. They figure that Obama will pretty much stay status quo with the WOD and they want to be able to hit him for it.

    I'm not complaining that they're being sensible, I just find it curious that he's been in office two weeks and people at the Corner are suddenly being sarcastic about dope smoking.

  • ||

    Parker has had it with the extra-chromosome, kulturkampf, "Operation Leper" wing of the conservative movement after what they did to her, and is just writing whatever she thinks, regardless.

    Good for her.

  • Timmy||

    Nothing but overt racism. A black man would have been hauled off to jail to experience a full cavity search by now.

  • ||

    Actually, Epizee-eep, National Review has been good on drug legalization for quite some time.

  • </||

    Not all the pro-drug legalization Republicans call themselves "libertarians".

  • ||

    Dude, if the Republicans want to be hypocritical, and oportunistic and advocate for legalization, I wholly welcome that event.

    If we could get 1, just one of the major parties, to advocate for legalization, it just might happen. Even when the other party holds a super majority.

    Also, we need to use electrical shocks to punish people who advocate continued prohibition. It is for their good and ours.

  • ||

    Dude, if the Republicans want to be hypocritical, and oportunistic and advocate for legalization, I wholly welcome that event.

    Me too; that's why I said I wasn't complaining.

    Actually, Epizee-eep, National Review has been good on drug legalization for quite some time.

    Hmm. But aren't several of their people shrill drug warriors? I was pretty sure that people like Lopez were.

  • ||

    Epi and joe,

    No, the position of National Review from William F. Buckley to currently has and is against the criminalization of marijuanna as a result of expanding the Leviathan. I'm sure some individual contributors are for marijuanna criminalization, but as far as I know NR has been against it from day one.

    I don't know about The American Conservative, but since they are generally all some form of localist, I can safely assume they are against it as well.

    Seemingly, the only people for it are law-and-order conservative politicians, liberal politicians who want to show they are tough on crime, and all the vested special interests who benefit from the Drug War, which I can safely assumes the entire Drug Enforcement Administration/the military-industrial complex that benefits providing weapons and tech to local police departments/etc.

    Everyone who isn't getting money from the Drug War is against it, but when you got large, entrenched special interests making their living from it...

  • BDB||

    Law-and-order conservatives and public health liberals are for the drug war, localist/small government conservatives and lifestyle liberals are against it. That's generally how it breaks down.

  • Elemenope||

    Seemingly, the only people for it are law-and-order conservative politicians, liberal politicians who want to show they are tough on crime, and all the vested special interests who benefit from the Drug War, which I can safely assumes the entire Drug Enforcement Administration/the military-industrial complex that benefits providing weapons and tech to local police departments/etc.

    The biggest beneficiaries besides the cops seem to be the prison industry and the "drug treatment" industry.

    Just yesterday, the Baltimore drug czar (yes, they have a fucking drug czar) said something along the lines of "MJ causes by far the most cases of young people requiring drug treatment".

  • Mad Max||

    'So why are the conservatives suddenly being sensible about weed?'

    The late William Buckley made it respectable for conservatives to be for legalizing drugs. This was as far back as the 1970s. And it might explain why National Review takes such the attitude it did. Note that Obama wasn't president in the 1970s, so Epi's 'opportunism' theory needs some work.

    Not all conservatives have gone along with the Buckleys and Parkers - some of them simply have a Cartmanesque attitude toward hippies. If hippies had spent the Sixties going to saloons, Prohibition would have revived by now. I'm surprised granola isn't a Schedule I drug.

  • ||

    Thanks joe for the note on NR.

    Epi,

    Wouldn't be suprised if she went either way on the issue or even if she's paralyzed into indecision about the whole thing.
    Doesn't matter since if NR wanted to do more, they should have a LOT more coverage on the issue. Oh well, one more area of the Leviathan/History to yell "Stop!" at will wait for another day.

  • ||

    Think of the sponsorship!

    Legalize it
    and Phelps will advertise it

    "Hi, I'm Michael Phelps and if you smoke marijuana try Ganja Greenhouse's White Widow*. Who knows? Maybe you'll be able to win 14 gold medals! Be like me, smoke Ganja Green."

    (*or Kimo, Nordern Lights, Bubblegum, etc... whhatever)

    Seriously, if it takes the Repubs to be knee-jerk anti-Obamamachine regarding marijuana, if Obama stays the current course, then I'm all for it. Do I think most of them will jump ship if another Repub Drug Warrior wins the oval office? Of course, but I'll take what I can get when I can get it.

    That's actually true about politicians, pot, money and sex. You know, that I'll take what I can get.

  • Reinmoose||

    I wonder if anti-marijuana legalization organizations have approached Phelps to tank his next few races and publicly admit it's because he tried pot, even just that one time.

  • ||

    I've never totally understood the conservative support for the drug war. In the end it's just an enormously expensive gov't program with no success and zero accountability.

  • Zeb||

    "MJ causes by far the most cases of young people requiring drug treatment".

    Almost. Should be "MJ causes by far the most cases of young people required by courts to go through the motions of drug treatment".

  • Zeb||

    If I were Phelps, I would rake in as much endorsement cash as quickly as I could, then having completed any contractual obligations to my sponsors, I would sign Balko's letter and tell people what I really think. Having some millions of dollars really makes the idea of ruining a future career a lot less scary.

  • Billy!||

    NR has had a LOT of marijuana coverage it seemed to me. Way back when I had a subscription seemingly every issue had a little pro-weed item or at least snarky pro-weed remark, and there have been several pretty big cover stories. You just had to pick 'em out from between the creationist rantings. Frankly I can't remember anything but pro-legalization talk from them except for an occasional low key grumble from some paleo in The Corner. (Although I haven't read the print version for about six or seven years. Maybe things have changed.)

  • dhex||

    "I've never totally understood the conservative support for the drug war. In the end it's just an enormously expensive gov't program with no success and zero accountability."

    to quote some of my favorite british homosexuals, "there's a beast of prey at the threshold of pleasure" and as such needs to be enshrined in law.

  • ||

    Three of our last three Presidents have used drugs, and two of them used cocaine. Yet we still don't change our drug laws?

    I'd steer clear of this line of argument. Citing our past Presidents as drug users may do more to convince people that drug use will, in fact, make you a parasite on society.

  • ||

    why isn't michael phelps in jail? i'd say it would be worth the personal sacrifice to phelps if his legion of tenn girl supporters wrote to their representatives to change marijuana laws.

  • the innominate one||

  • Warty||

    Parker has had it with the extra-chromosome, kulturkampf, "Operation Leper" wing of the conservative movement after what they did to her

    What did they do to her?

  • state school graduate||

    there's a beast of prey at the threshold of pleasure

    what does this mean? a prey beast, like a rabbit, is at the threshold of pleasure? Is that something similar to lemmiwinks? Or the beast of prey preys on prey beasts, so it's like a tiger at the entry to pleasure? Yikes!

  • Mad Max||

    'his legion of *tenn* girl supporters' (emphasis added)

    What's the definition of a Tennessee virgin? A girl who can swim faster than Michael Phelps.

  • Elemenope||

    I'd steer clear of this line of argument. Citing our past Presidents as drug users may do more to convince people that drug use will, in fact, make you a parasite on society.

    Oh please. Most people, despite their opinion of politicians generally, would cite "becoming the POTUS" as a personal success. Nobody says "he screwed up his life so badly that he became a congressman".

  • ||

    I remember seeing a drug legalization debate on TV in the 1980's. I think Michael Kinsey was the moderator. Buckley was on the pro-legalization side and ate the other side up.

    """""I've never totally understood the conservative support for the drug war. In the end it's just an enormously expensive gov't program with no success and zero accountability.""""

    It's a cash cow for law enforcement. Republican's love law enforncement. Does that clear it up?

  • ||

    If hippies had spent the Sixties going to saloons, Prohibition would have revived by now. I'm surprised granola isn't a Schedule I drug.

    Max, I am in total agreement with you here.

    I suppose I would say that culture warriors like Rush and other populist assholes like to use MJ as something that the other side supports/uses, and it's therefore a marker of "the enemy". Unfortunately, these guys have tremendously loud voices.

  • ||

    """""I've never totally understood the conservative support for the drug war. In the end it's just an enormously expensive gov't program with no success and zero accountability.""""

    Isn't it partly racist as well?

  • Mad Max||

    'a prey beast, like a rabbit, is at the threshold of pleasure?'

    It's obviously this rabbit.

  • Elemenope||

    I suppose I would say that culture warriors like Rush and other populist assholes like to use MJ as something that the other side supports/uses, and it's therefore a marker of "the enemy". Unfortunately, these guys have tremendously loud voices.

    From the Book bequeathed regarding the Judges of Ceiling Cat, Chapter 12:

    4 Jefthah den tell Gilead kittez to zerg Efraim. gilead kittehs not mind, cuz Efraim kittehs say, "yuo does dramaz wif Efraim an mannaseh."
    5 All jordan base are belong to teh Gilead kittehs, so dey go to to Efraim; wen Efraim kitty not pwned want cross an say, "i can crosez ovar?" Gilead den ask, "yuo = efraim?" den he say, "NO, DUH"
    6 den has test, "ok den, say shibboleth. " but he sai "sibboleth" cuz hez stupid and cant sai rite, so dey aggrod him. 42000 efraim kitteh got aggrod cuz dey ALL stupid like dat.

  • Clemsonuee||

    That's what he gets for going to the other state University to party. Hey Michael, at Clemson we'd never have taken that picture and published it.

  • astral disaster||

    Here, Nature is naked, her acrobats bathed in blood. There's a beast of prey on the threshold of pleasure and the giantess, sea priestess, beckons the passers-by: "Do not lose sight of the sea. Do not lose sight to the sea."

  • BakedPenguin||

    I haven't read her columns in years (since about 2003), but in the past I was always impressed by Parker in that she never wrote WTF? type columns. Even when I disagreed with her, she presented a logical and intelligent point of view. Glad to see she's on the right side here.

  • ||

    Oh Juanita, where for art thou Juanita!

    *weeps silently*

  • justinslot||

    @Warty: I think they turned on her after she admitted Palin was an idiot.

  • Cabeza De Vaca||

    "Oh please. Most people, despite their opinion of politicians generally, would cite "becoming the POTUS" as a personal success. Nobody says "he screwed up his life so badly that he became a congressman".

    That's the problem with people. People look up to politicians when they should be treated like child molesters.

  • coffee||

    Dear News of the World magazine:
    You Suck. I hope this publicity stunt backfires on you.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Keep Dope ALIVE !!!

  • ||

    Everyone who isn't getting money from the Drug War is against it...

    I think this overstates things. There is surely an economic-interest argument to be made, but Nixon actually had to create the drug war before there was an organized lobby with an economic interest to maintain it. When he did, it was very popular, as it was when Reagan expanded it, due to people connecting drug use with crime and disorder.

    Also, I second the agreement with Mad Max. A great deal of support for the drug war can be traced to hippies vs squares campus slap fights in The Sixtiesman. I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll see some progress on this front as the boomers get replaced in the government.

  • ||

    Hmm. But aren't several of their people shrill drug warriors? I was pretty sure that people like Lopez were.



    True, Lopez does state (and did on the Corner) that she doesn't fully agree with the magazine's editorial position on pot. But National Review and many of their writers are pro-decriminalization, pro ending the drug war, and some are for outright legalization. They've had a few issues on the topic, even.

    But they don't have uniformity among all writers on that issue, like some others.

  • ||

    Most people, despite their opinion of politicians generally, would cite "becoming the POTUS" as a personal success.

    C'mon, El. Humor, remember?

  • Elemenope||

    C'mon, El. Humor, remember?

    You're a dry one.

  • qrstu||

    C'mon, El. Humor, remember?

    Lmnop's charming earnestness in response to clearly lighthearted posts is one of the many things that keep me reading the comments.

  • dhex||

    i don't buy the hippie hating bit very much; the drug war persists on both sides of the aisle, and as we all know includes people who smoked weed, snorted coke and lord knows what else. that former drug users can stand in front of us and argue about who's going to put more current drug users in jail is...well, it's special.

  • ||

    I said Juanita, my sweet Juanita, what are you up to?
    My Juanita. I said Juanita, my sweet taquita,
    what are you up to? My Juanita.

  • renniejoy||

    The drug wars (including Prohibition) have always had some racist, classist, elements. Anti-opiums laws were framed as "those heathen yellow people use it", while respectable white women (and others) used laudanam and morphine. Anti-cocaine laws were framed as "those wild uppity Negroes use it". Anti-marijuana laws were " those dirty Mexicans" and support for anti-alcohol laws were, to a point, based on opposition to "those Irish and German (lower class) and their hard liquor, which is totally different from our genteel wine".

    I remember reading that DuPont strongly pushed fro marijuana prohibition, because they had just patented a new plastic for rope, and they wanted to get hamp off the market.

  • renniejoy||

    I mean DuPont wanted hemp off the market.

    There's your profit motive, right there joe, long before Nixon.

    Of course, there was a tax and license scheme for physicians to prescribe any of these for a long time as well; I'm not sure that most people would have foreseen the total prohibition regime we have now.

  • damn it all||

    I'm surprised granola isn't a Schedule I drug.

    Or tye-dye...:)

  • save the weed!||

    They talk about wanting more jobs, and giving the economy a major boost, but they keep shutting down Head shops that have been in bussiness for 5-8-10-25 yrs. Taking growing shops out of the market.

    If they really want to save our country, cut the spending they will cease this war on drugs, and the community will boom.

    Look what happened when they gave back us our beer!

  • jasno||

    Anyone else see "Marijuana Inc: Inside America's Pot Industry" on CNBC last night? (It looks like they'll run it again in the next few days)

    I only caught the last half, which was choc full of race-baiting - "Look at this can of menudo, some tortillas and hot sauce we found in this field of marijuana!" But the bit at the end was priceless. They got a helicopter pilot for the DEA to admit that the pot culture in Northern California was unstoppable and that they were losing the war on drugs.

  • jasno||

    "Look what happened when they gave back us our beer!"

    I think it's spelled Bacchus.

    I'm sure glad we got it back from him.. that bastard.

  • ||

    who cares the guy won 8 gold medals, he hasnt been a kid he has been training and training let the guy take a bong rip, who hasnt smoke a little ganja in there life

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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