Drug Policy

Michael Phelps' Bong Buddies Busted

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A Columbia, South Carolina, TV station reports that the Richland County Sheriff's Department has arrested eight people on marijuana charges in connection with the November party where Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was photographed taking a bong hit. After serving a search warrant on the house where the party was held, says WIS-TV, the department charged seven people with marijuana possession and one with distribution. They also confiscated the world-famous bong, whose owner reportedly was trying to sell it on eBay for $100,000. Phelps himself has not been charged, but Sheriff Leon Lott has photographic evidence linking him to the house, plus the gold medalist's public admission of "regrettable behavior."

Although the house is within Columbia's city limits, WIS-TV reports, "the Columbia Police Department decided not to initiate or take an active role in the investigation." South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford also seems to think police have better things to do. On the Fox News Channel on Sunday, Geraldo Rivera asked him whether Phelps should be prosecuted, and Sanford replied, "I don't see what it gets at this point."

Norm Kent, an attorney who serves on NORML's board of directors, explains why the case against Phelps is not the slam dunk you might think it is.

Meanwhile, drug policy reformers are urging Phelps-friendly consumers to boycott Kellogg's products, or at least register a complaint with the food company, in response to its decision to cancel the swimmer's sponsorship deal. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, writes:

This contemporary flogging reeks of hypocrisy—of alcohol drinkers and tobacco smokers condemning those who consume a far less dangerous product; of company officials who no doubt smoked marijuana themselves castigating a remarkable athlete for getting caught doing what nobody cares if they did as well; and of sanctimonious handwringers seizing on a public figure's embarrassment to drive home an anachronistic abstinence-only message when it comes to America's favorite illicit psychoactive substance.

Tens of millions of Americans think that the public condemnation of Phelps is a farce….

We also think that arresting almost 800,000 Americans each year for possessing a little marijuana is both a stupid waste and diversion of police resources as well as a cruel intrusion into the lives of ordinary Americans. And we're sick and tired of the public outings, and forced apologies and recantations, which perpetuate this shameless hypocrisy.

So let's send Kellogg's a message!

Previous Reason coverage of the Phelps flogging here, here, here, here, and here.

[Thanks to Tom Angell at LEAP for the tip.]

NEXT: Reason.tv at TromaDance: Q&A with the Toxic Avenger's Father, Lloyd Kaufman

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  1. “This contemporary flogging reeks of hypocrisy-of alcohol drinkers and tobacco smokers condemning those who consume a far less dangerous product….”

    Can’t we just say prohibition is stupid, without pointing the finger at someone else (get THEM! not ME!)

    But, yeah, Fuck Kellogg’s

  2. Let’s see; do I actually give a shit about some obsessive-compulsive bozo who is willing to enslave himself to the totalitarians at the International Olympic Regime?

    Ummm, no.

    Do I think he, or anybody else, should be a trophy, on the wall of some politically motivated scumbag? Fuck, no.

    Kellogg can use Charles Manson as a spokesperson, for all I care.

  3. How popular do you think the person who took that photo and sent it to the tabloids is right now?

  4. Bong Buddies Busted

    Oh, just admit it. You have been waiting to use that one for a while.

  5. They also confiscated the world-famous bong, whose owner reportedly was trying to sell it on eBay for $100,000.

    Stupid Is as Stupid Does

  6. I want to see Tony the Tiger doing a bong hit. We already know Captain Crunch does meth. God only knows what that Cruchberry Beast is on. And those three little krispy dudes – nitrous I guess.

  7. Yeah, and the Sugar Smacks frog is on…smack?

  8. Apparently Subway has decided to keep Phelps on as an endorser. They know which side of their (half-baked) bread is buttered.

    I like D’Angelo’s sandwiches better, but it kinda makes me want to get a $5 foot-long, just ’cause.

  9. They hadn’t ditched the evidence by now? Couldn’t they have seen this coming? Props to Sanford though.

  10. ” want to see Tony the Tiger doing a bong hit.”

    Bongs? They’re Grrrrrrrrraaate!!!

  11. Count Chocula is trippin’ his face off!

  12. The moral of the story, never smoke pot with famous people. Wait, friends don’t let friends take pictures of each other smoking pot. Well something like that.

    These people made a very unfortunate choice of smoking buddy.

  13. One for each gold medal.

    Thank goodness the police are finally taking action. When is the SWAT team going to serve the warrant at Michael’s house?

  14. “I like D’Angelo’s sandwiches better, but it kinda makes me want to get a $5 foot-long, just ’cause.”

    Ya know I started eating $5 foot-longs for lunch a couple of months back and damn if they aren’t making me fat. I think Jared Fogle is a liar.

  15. They hadn’t ditched the evidence by now?

    Really. Fucking idiots.

    Although I’m not sure exactly how the police are going to get possession charges to stick against all the people living in the house, unless they each had a baggie stashed in their underwear drawer.

    Do we know yet who took the picture. I want a name, dammit!

  16. Silly rabbit, bong hits are for losers! And so is Trix!

  17. What if this had happened on the campus of NYU or UCLA?

  18. “Thank goodness the police are finally taking action. When is the SWAT team going to serve the warrant at Michael’s house?”

    Hope they remember to shoot the dogs.

  19. Ya know I started eating $5 foot-longs for lunch a couple of months back and damn if they aren’t making me fat. I think Jared Fogle is a liar.

    That’s what happens when you eat a bread sandwich.

  20. I don’t think this cop cares if the charges stick. He just wants his 3 seconds of fame.

  21. “That’s what happens when you eat a bread sandwich.”

    Well what the hell is Jared eating???

  22. Well what the hell is Jared eating???

    Lies and deceit. Besides, he was eating a 6-inch, and wasn’t deepthroating a foot long like you.

  23. “Well what the hell is Jared eating???”

    I think I can tell what he’s NOT eating.

  24. Well what the hell is Jared eating???

    If memory serves: he would do a six-inch low-cal meat sandwich of some kind and a 12-inch all vegie sandwich (a.k.a. a salad on bread). This was combined with lots of walking.

  25. “Besides, he was eating a 6-inch, and wasn’t deepthroating a foot long like you.”

    I think I just pissed myself.

  26. Shoot the dogs, initiate forfiture of those gold medals, and then drop the criminal complaint.

    After all, isn’t it just about revenue enhancement?

  27. I like D’Angelo’s sandwiches better, but it kinda makes me want to get a $5 foot-long, just ’cause.

    Damn. I haven’t lived in a part of the country with D’Angelo’s for a long time. IIRC, they are awesome.

    Also, the 1-800 number for Kellogg’s actually has a convenient phone mail for people who want to talk about the Phelps thing. I called to say I wouldn’t be buying any Kellogg’s products unless they reconsidered their decision.

  28. THE URKOBOLD WAS WITH PHELPS THAT NIGHT AND HAS SOME INSIDE INFORMATION. MICHAEL USED ONE OF HIS GOLD MEDALS AS THE BASE FOR THE BONG. HE’S A GOOD KID.

  29. Support Subway!!

  30. If there were to be a bright side to this, it would be that the dickwad who sold the fucking picture is one of the arrestees. And is the only one ultimately convicted.

    Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

    Actually, as bad a dickwad as he is, I really wouldn’t wish that on him.

    A journey through the criminal justice system is a thing not to be taken lightly.

  31. As far as food it is Quiznos all the way.

  32. How much weed could you buy with 12 gold medals? I’d like to get enough to fill a sleeping bag.

  33. “MICHAEL USED ONE OF HIS GOLD MEDALS AS THE BASE FOR THE BONG.”

    That’s just stupid.

  34. Can’t we just say prohibition is stupid, without pointing the finger at someone else (get THEM! not ME!)

    If by “we” you mean NORML//DPA types, no.

    “Everything but whatever I do should be banned” is the most pro-prohibition position one can occupy, and they’re much closer to it than they are to being anti-prohibition.

    Sanctimonious handwringers seizing on a public figure’s embarrassment to drive home a differently inflected Puritan message, you could say (if you talked in goofy waves of cliche like that).

  35. “A journey through the criminal justice system is a thing not to be taken lightly.”

    I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  36. “As far as food it is Quiznos all the way.”

    In Minneapolis, they’re e-coli breeders.

  37. INDEED, DAN-O. HOWEVER, HIS FRIENDS ENJOYED IT. THEY SAID IT SMELLED LIKE. . .VICTORY.

  38. Support Subway!!

    KEEP DOUGH ALIVE!!!

  39. “INDEED, DAN-O. HOWEVER, HIS FRIENDS ENJOYED IT. THEY SAID IT SMELLED LIKE. . .VICTORY.”

    Take a writing/comedy class and get back to us.

  40. “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.”

    Really? Because I would love to see the two little bitches that pulled a gun and robbed my neighbor put in jail.

  41. DAN O, YOU FOOL, THE SLASH IS DEPRECATED IN FORMAL SENTENCES!

  42. smartass & ? – I don’t think the comparison with alcohol and tobacco by NORML is meant to imply those things should be illegal, but rather to point out that one of the more common arguments for pot prohibition is utter bullshit.

  43. As far as food it is Quiznos all the way.

    I’ve boycotted Quiznos. My dollars are not paying for talking baby advertisement, or singing puppets, any of that shit.

  44. “Really? Because I would love to see the two little bitches that pulled a gun and robbed my neighbor put in jail.”

    I’d rather see them tied up in my basement.

  45. “DAN O, YOU FOOL, THE SLASH IS DEPRECATED IN FORMAL SENTENCES!”

    Really. You’re making an ass of yourself. Take a break. It just isn’t working.

  46. “Really? Because I would love to see the two little bitches that pulled a gun and robbed my neighbor put in jail.”

    I’d rather see them tied up in my basement, with plastic sheeting all around.

  47. Yeah, and the Sugar Smacks frog is on…smack?

    Smack cut with sugar.

  48. Dan O, it takes a brave soul to pick a fight with the Urkobold. Mind yer taint, dude.

  49. Warty, it might have been pre-withered.

  50. AS YOU SAY, DAN O. AND YOUR CONTRIBUTION HAS ENLIGHTENED THE CHILDREN OF AMERICA! OH, LISTEN TO THEIR PAEANS TO YOU, THE BRINGER OF JOY AND KNOWLEDGE. WHY, AS THE URKOBOLD READS THROUGH THE PROFUNDITY OF YOUR POSTINGS, HE IS STRICKEN DUMB WITH AWE. WHAT INSIGHTS YOU HAVE!

    PLEASE, EDITORS OF REASON, STAND ASIDE AND LET DAN O SPEAK. TURN OFF COMMENTS, TURN OFF REASON. LET US ALL “TAKE A BREAK” AND LISTEN TO THE SOOTHING SOUNDS OF DAN O’S WORDS OF SOON-TO-BE-UNTAINTED WISDOM.

  51. “WHY, AS THE URKOBOLD READS THROUGH THE PROFUNDITY OF YOUR POSTINGS, HE IS STRICKEN DUMB WITH AWE. WHAT INSIGHTS YOU HAVE!”

    fart

  52. gee whiz, while there is a lot of catty in this thread, it is lacking in funny or clever. cmon H&R! you can do better!

  53. …Richland County Sheriff’s Department has arrested eight people on marijuana charges in connection with the November party where Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was photographed taking a bong hit.

    Un Fucking Believable.
    What am I saying, it’s all too believable.
    Is it even possible for drug warriors to go to far?

    Soon, they’ll combine random road blocks with swat raids and just shoot the dogs in random cars. Because we need to send the right message. THINK OF THE CHILDREN

  54. Dan O, why so serious? Have some Sugar Smacks.

  55. “Dan O, why so serious?”

    Urkobold? is boringly predictable and effectively impotent. What can I say?

  56. effectively impotent

    Think.

  57. Dan O, you just need the Totally Coercive Taint Protection that only Pre-withered Tainties can Provide!

    Yes! Tainties! The Lunch Cereal that makes you jump up and post! Post like a man, Dan O! Post with Tainties!

  58. Whoa! My taint feels withered just from reading Dan O’s derisive comments! You fool, Dan O! You foolish fool!

  59. They also confiscated the world-famous bong, whose owner reportedly was trying to sell it on eBay for $100,000.

    I didn’t RTFA, so excuse me if these kids were too stupid to flush their stash when the story hit.

    However, assuming the defendant had nothing on them other than the bong, couldn’t they argue that it was a hoax, or that they gave Phelps a tobacco-filled bong as a gag? I mean, I can’t imagine possesion charges would stick so long after the fact.

    OTOH, if they didn’t get rid of their stash when the story broke, like anyone except the severly retarded would, then they likely deserve some punishment.

    Anyone know what they were charge with? (My internet Nazi’s won’t let me follow the link).

  60. Oops, forgot to switch back from my post-stimulus joke name…

  61. Color me compassionate, but I’m not as upset as most here are about the actions of Sheriff Leon Lott.

    Things could have been a lot worse, since Lott is allegedly the lovechild of UrkoboldTM and Eric Dondero.

  62. MICHAEL PHELPS IS IN HOT WATER?

    Stop the presses — an athlete has been caught smoking pot!! This is news?!? I say, he’s just a kid!! We’ve all made mistakes. Leave Michael Phelps alone!!! (After you listen to this parody and send it to everyone you know!!) See “Because Michael Phelps Got High” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK09SS0zYHg
    See more parodies at http://parodyandson.blogspot.com

  63. Isn’t Leon Lott the jackass that thought an M113 APC was a good way to spend Richland County tax dollars?

  64. If only federal prosecutors would act as swiftly to apprehend the financial terrorists behind the economic meltdown.

  65. “I’ll donate to a candidate against Sheriff Lott” Facebook group
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=53769580807

  66. They can out A-Rod, but they can’t out the guy who took the bong photo?

    I am depressed.

  67. In a statement, Sheriff Lott said: “We will make the Phelps investigation a high priority. We will not stop until we have smoked out all the perpetrators. We must weed out the criminal element. I am going to do what’s right and enforce the law, even if it means I have to take a hit in the media.”

  68. keep the cameras away, people!

  69. I keep getting the feeling the author has a major sideline dealing.

  70. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford also seems to think police have better things to do.

  71. What with all the disappointment I’ve grown accustomed to in the past oh, 9 years from the GOP, I keep expecting for the other Mark Sanford shoe to drop. Not to mention the built-in disappointment factor of South Carolina, a state which takes perverse pride in its ability to manufacture tawdriness and Flannery O’Connor characters.

    See Leon Lott, who’s kind of a Loverboy to Joe Arpaio’s Foreigner.

  72. So Michael Phelps is a guy who drinks at parties smokes a little gambles on high stakes games of beer pong and is the all time greatest Olympic medal winner he sounds like a pretty cool guy to me. Michael Phelps is an American Hero. He stood tall and made America proud at the Beijing Olympics. This is how he is treated. Michael Phelps did a tremendous amount of work to achive what he did. Who can forget the pride we felt with the each gold medal Phelps won in China, how can we as Americans forget all of those things and hang a man for smoking a glass water pipe at a college party. It is time that we as a country stand up for the rights of the individual, it’s time we stand together with our neighbors and take collective control of our destinies. Write any congressman or a senator; imagine the weight of millions of emails calling for a change in policy. Lets stop them from arresting college kids at parties in America.

    SunflowerPipes.com

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