Olympic Great Michael Phelps Smoked Pot, Who the Hell Cares, Nothing Wrong With That


Many news outlets are running a story this morning that Olympic Great and winner of 16 medals last summer Michael Phelps apparently has admitted that a photo of him smoking pot is authentic.

From the BBC:

“Mr Phelps, 23, who won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics last year, was pictured by the News of the World inhaling from a glass pipe.

The picture was taken in November at a party in the University of South Carolina, the newspaper said.

Mr Phelps apologised to fans and said the incident would not be repeated.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press news agency, the swimmer acknowledged the photo was authentic. “

To which I say, *who the hell cares!* Surely had this man been enjoying a martini instead of a bong nobody would have given a rats ass. And yet marijuana is no more harmful to your body than cigarettes and alcohol. The “war on drugs,” complete with the propaganda that Michael Phelps in this case somehow did something wrong is idiotic. At present we are spending way too much money prosecuting and incarcerating people for crimes associated with marijuana when smoking pot and getting high really is no different than downing a six pack or if you’re rich, a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon.

The criminalization of marijuana has gone on too long. It has taken a huge toll on society enforcing it and ensuring that most of the money associated with the trade goes directly to organized crime and gangsters on the streets rather than a more sensible approach where it is sold through liquor stores and taxed like other arguably less than healthy things in our society (alcohol, tobacco gasoline, etc.).

It was the Great Depression and the need for tax revenues that finally got the United States to end the prohibition on alcohol. Maybe this most recent downturn and a need for tax revenue will finally convince people that marijuana ought to be legal as well. Those that argue against the legalization of marijuana most of the time have never even tried it. People make outlandish claims about how it zaps all your ambition and prevents you from achieving anything in life. But in actuality there are many people who use it regularly and are perfectly successful and do just fine with it. Just like there are people who alcohol ravages and people who can consume alcohol socially just fine.

Our President has admitted to smoking pot (and inhaling and enjoying it), millions of Americans smoke pot regularly every year, heck one of our popular TV shows now is basically all about pot, and now we have an Olympic hero who has imbibed. It’s time for the stigma associated with marijuana to go away. If people want to smoke pot there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Smoking pot won’t kill you. It’s time for the country to legalize it.

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  1. Aaron Brown says:

    I don’t smoke weed, but I entirely agree here. It is moronic that cigarettes that are filled with things like fiberglass and tar are legal, but smoking a different plant that is less harmful to the body is. Let people do whatever the hell they want to do. And all that gateway drug nonsense is just that — nonsense. I know a plethora of people who smoke weed on a semi-regular basis, yet have never made the jump to heroin, cocaine, or meth. Comeon….

  2. Mark says:

    This is just typical of this part of the UK press. Its the sad tall poppies syndrome which we seem to love here – watch people who are great fall. I’d have thought there was more than enough proper news to investigate and report without needed to cover this..

  3. Rasmus says:

    I’m kind of hoping he’ll inspire others to try it, too. The more people who’ve tried it, and experienced that it doesn’t ruin your life, lead to heroin and a life of crime, the bigger the chance of pot some day becoming legal.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the tax money spent on fighting marijuana is a complete waste. Legalize it and remove the foundation for criminals to make a profit – problem solved once and for all.

  4. JeffH says:

    Great post Thomas. I totally agree!

  5. John says:

    Sorry Thomas, I completely disagree with you here. First off your argument that it’s no more harmful than cigarettes is not exactly compelling. The health effects of cigarettes are numerous and well documented. From cancer to emphysema to increased risk of heart disease. Also, it’s well known that unlike cigarettes and alcohol, marijuana is a gateway drug, frequently leading to even more damaging drugs. Certainly there are otherwise upstanding citizens that use marijuana. That does not diminish the many lives it has ruined.

  6. thekevinmonster says:

    I agree with Thomas Hawk and disagree with John. Pot is not harmless. Not much is harmless in this world. Alcohol and tobacco cigarettes (or snuff, or cigars) certainly aren’t harmless; alcohol can easily kill you in one sitting and cigarettes can contribute to cancer and other bodily problems.

    I’m not sure marijuana has ‘ruined’ lives simply by the act of using it. Perhaps through the entire lifecycle, including illicit manufacture and distribution, including incarceration for possession or sale. I know people whose lives have been ruined by alcohol, such as my biological paternal grandmother.

    Why isn’t alcohol a gateway drug? Alcohol is _legal_ and it intoxicates you and harms your judgement, enough so that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Alcohol has probably led to countless rapes, violent crimes, pregnancies, and other acts of poor judgment.

    Marijuana certainly isn’t any _more_ evil than some other things that are very legal.

  7. […] Hawk, a professional photographer and blogger, has an entry dubbed, “OLYMPIC GREAT MICHAEL PHELPS SMOKED POT, WHO THE HELL CARES, NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.“  To which I say, *who the hell cares!* Surely had this man been enjoying a martini instead […]

  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    John, the “gateway drug” argument is nothing more than a red herring. The idea that marijuana leads to harder drugs is no different than alcohol or tobacco leading to harder drugs. I guarantee you that the percentage of people who have done harder drugs like heroin or crack is no different whether they smoked pot or drank alcohol.

    People will abuse harder drugs than alcohol and pot. But many people will not. There are many, many people who have tried and even regularly smoke pot who have never tried harder drugs nor have any desire to try harder drugs, just like there are many, many people who have tried or regularly use alcohol and have never tried nor have a desire to try harder drugs.

    As a matter of fact. I bet you that Michael Phelps who this article is about is a good example of someone who has used marijuana but who has not gone on to become addicted or even try crack or heroin.

  9. Dave! says:

    It is ridiculous the hypocrisy of the “war on drugs”. Phelps catches hell for a pic of him smoking pot, while countless professional athletes collect whopping paychecks to endorse booze of all sorts. How many lives has *alcoholism* ruined? I suspect a lot more than pot *even* factoring in pot’s illegality (meaning people wasting away in jail for marijuana offenses). Make pot legal and I suspect the number of lives ruined by it would be a small percent of those ruined by alcohol.

  10. If Michael Phelps is into smoking pipes then good for him. Just because he enjoys smoking a water pipe does not mean he should have to lie about it and talk about the “big mistake” he made. The government makes a mistake every time it enforces marijuana prohibition at the expense of America and good since. America should grow up and quit attacking its own citizens for how they decide to spend their recreational time.

  11. Johnathan says:

    Gateway drug? HAHAHAHAHA!

    That is one of the weakest arguments anti marijuana people have and it sounds like the only one too.

    If anything, it leads to other drugs because of the atmosphere surrounding it due to it’s illegalities.

    You meet some dude in an ally to buy some pot, he happens to have some smack on him too and he throws you some for free so you can “try” it.


    Marijuana is legal, taxed, and FDA approved. You know exactly what you’re getting and where it came from and you’re in a nice little liquor store near your house buying a bag from a friendly face that wouldn’t want you to try harder drugs.

    I’m surprised no one brought up how much INDUSTRIAL HEMP would effect out economy. There THOUSANDS of uses for HEMP, not to mention how much BETTER the products would be that are made from other materials already. Take plastic and threads for instance. Hemp can not only REPLACE those materials but would make BETTER and STRONGER versions of things than the current materials used.

    I kinda got off on a tangent, but the big picture is that it’s no MORE evil than already legal substances (although I firmly believe that it IS much LESS evil).

    Legalize, regulate, tax. Crime goes down, government funding goes up. And about 10 more really good things happen hehe!

  12. Anonymous says:

    amazing article on marijuana I bookmarked save your website. thanks to you!!! sorry for my english