CANNABIS CULTURE – Pro Wrestler and pot activist Rob Van Dam would love to see Michael Phelps become an advocate of marijuana, but knows it won’t happen. In this Cannabis Culture article, RVD writes that he admires the way the Olympian handled getting busted, and thinks its time to put down the Corn Flakes.
The Olympics are by far the most-watched sporting game on TV. Sponsors pay enormous sums of money to have their ads played during commercial breaks in hopes of generating business through the massive exposure of the worldwide competition.
Even if you didn’t see one minute of the 2008 Olympics, you couldn’t miss the fact that a new hero emerged. 23-year-old Michael Phelps seemed to be everywhere. He was all over the talk shows. He hosted Saturday Night Live. He even graced the boxes of Kellogg’s products with his image.
Winning eight more gold medals – giving him a lifetime total of fourteen gold and two bronze medals – proved that Michael is the all-American hero and quite possibly the greatest athlete in the world!
When the rare opportunity to witness such a phenomenon occurs, it seems natural that people will try to learn more about what this hero does and how he lives and contributes to his success. He is obviously very skilled at what he does, and his record-breaking status is a result of his drive and determination. It’s hard to imagine someone with more credibility as an athlete.
When a photo of Michael holding a water pipe showed up in a British tabloid magazine, people didn’t know how to react.
Many were disappointed at learning that Michael was most likely smoking marijuana, and he was suspended from swimming competition for three months.
Why? Did they feel like he cheated to win those medals? No. Did they believe he caused harm to anyone? No. Are they afraid that his lungs won’t be healthy enough for future competition? C’mon! He’s Michael fucking Phelps! He can hold his breath like a dolphin and out-swim Aqua-Man.
More likely, everyone is upset about an inconsistency with the make-believe image in his or her minds of a perfect role model. They now make a connection between Michael Phelps and the couch potato from the anti-pot commercials they see on television.
In case you need me to point out the problem there, one of those characters is fictional, and the other is the most accomplished athlete ever.
When are we going to stop ignoring the truth? Pot was outlawed over 70 years ago due to lies and propaganda saying it caused violence, promiscuity and insanity. Although the government has done little honest research since the La Guardia Commission disputed those claims in the early forties, the fear tactics worked, and still do. People are afraid, so they choose not to think, and are instead spoon-fed “information”.
I’ve often wondered why more people don’t discover the facts that are available. No one has ever died from marijuana poisoning, yet the DEA has classified it as a schedule one controlled substance, labeling it as one of the most dangerous of all drugs. How can that be right? Even if the federal government makes this claim, how can the public fall for it?
I recently appeared on Geraldo at Large to discuss the topic of Michael and marijuana.
Although Geraldo seems to have a good understanding of the dishonest, wrongful prejudice against the herb, his ridiculous guest Kimberly Guilfoyle had the ignorance to say that Michael should put down the weed and eat some carrots. Is there anybody in the Universe that believes that Kimberly Guilfoyle knows more about physical conditioning than Michael Phelps? Really? She can’t even believe that!
Michael is one of many successful people who live as role models, and have made the educated decision to smoke weed. In the sports world alone, we can name many herb-honoring champions – from basketball to bob-sledding, running to rodeo, skating to sumo-wrestling – athletes of every sport…myself included.
In 2006, I was arrested in Ohio for simple possession of marijuana. At the time, I was the World Wresting Entertainment champion and the ECW champion as well. That would be the last of that. The arresting officer enjoyed admiring my shiny world title belts as he laid them on the ground next to everything he emptied out of my suitcases during the search. Although the bust made worldwide news via television, print, radio and Internet, I never felt like I owed the public an apology.
It wasn’t like I was caught experimenting and fucked up. I had been using weed to help me accomplish a lifetime of reaching goals, and had been known as an example-setter in this regard for some time. Our schoolbooks didn’t inform us that marijuana could be used as a medication and could replace standard pharmaceutical drugs, and they still don’t. I will. I’ll tell you from experience.
Geraldo asked me if pot was “good for you.” Now that I have the outlet to answer that fully – without Miss Guilfoyle interrupting – let me elaborate.
An athlete like myself has much to gain from using cannabis to increase focus on goals and block out distractions stemming from nerves and anxieties. Cannabis elevates the mood level to keep the athlete full of positive energy, which is necessary to be at one’s best. As well, pot helps competitors deal with body pains and stresses of the mind that can be unnecessary obstacles in the way. This is a preferred method of natural, organic preparation that many world champion athletes have been using since marijuana was first discovered.
Is it “good for you”? It helped tremendously with my wife’s recent undergoing of chemotherapy treatment. When she was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 33, we were both shocked to learn of the major life change we were about to endure. We have absolutely no doubt that the six months of chemo that followed her laposectomy surgery would have been even more difficult to go through without God’s herbal gift – or as they call it here in California, medicinal marijuana. Although it was still very challenging, she fared incredibly well compared to other patients who did not use cannabis therapy.
We attended a nutritional class designed to help educate patients on taking better care of themselves while dealing with the treatments. I couldn’t believe what I learned about their policy when a question was asked by an old, fragile lady about what she could do to stop wasting away. Her loss of appetite, combined with constant nausea kept her feeling weak and tired.
The nutritionist advised her to drink milk instead of water, sprinkle protein powder on her food, and to just keep trying to eat.
“What about marijuana?” I asked.
“Well,” she said, “since you brought it up, yes – a lot of patience have reported great results from marijuana. I’m just not allowed to bring it up.”
This really pisses me off. Their policy is to let people suffer because pot isn’t cool to talk about. Fuck that. I’m talking about City of Hope – one of the nation’s biggest cancer research centers where thousands of victims go to find relief – and they can’t bring up pot?
Recently, under the Obama administration, the newly appointed U.S. Attorney general Eric Holder announced that the federal government’s policy on medical marijuana would comply with state laws. That means no more fear of DEA raids stopping patients from getting their medicine in California or the other 12 states that currently approve of medical marijuana.
A couple weeks later, I checked with my wife’s oncologist to make sure he knew that he could now recommend marijuana to his patients without fear of federal recourse. Big surprise – he didn’t know. Shouldn’t someone leave a memo on this guy’s desk? He no longer has to try to explain why he prescribes Marinol (a pill manufactured with synthetic THC with a patent) while he believes there’s no medicine in pot.
Or, will it always be about the dollar? Cannabis was prohibited to protect big money revenue streams coming from alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, oil, plastics, cotton and others. According to the Hemperor Jack Herer, 80 percent of everything was made from hemp 100 years ago.
With all that business wanting to keep marijuana illegal, it’s easy to understand how it happened. Still, the truth will prevail. People will not stand for being lied to when they figure it out.
San Francisco assemblyman Tom Ammiano is pitching legislation in Sacramento to legalize marijuana for all adults. While current marijuana dispensaries bring in an estimated 100 million dollars in taxes, dropping the medical doctor referral requirement is estimated to increase the taxed revenue to one billion dollars for the state of California. Also, I read that it could save a billion dollars by ceasing to waste money arresting and prosecuting marijuana smokers.
While ending marijuana prohibition is being talked about on such serious levels, why did everyone viewable on camera laugh as President Obama addressed the issue at a recent Q&A? Legalizing marijuana to bring revenue to our fucked-up economy was the question that received the most votes on-line, and still inspired giggles. Obama even made a joke about it before implying that it wasn’t a good idea. He lost a lot of points with me there, as did Kellogg’s when they pulled their sponsorship of Michael Phelps and recalled thousands of cereal boxes after a photograph showing Michael with a water bong appeared in a British publication.
Add me to the thousands who will not be buying Kellogg’s products in protest. I’ve read that the company’s sales have been hurt by this, and being a native of Battle Creek, Michigan myself, just like Kellogg’s, I’m disappointed in their decision. Like Mazda, Speedo, Omega and Subway I’ll stand by Michael’s phenomenal achievements and abilities over one careless moment of indiscretion.
Although I’d love for Michael Phelps to become an advocate of marijuana and use his leverage to change the world, he has millions of dollars to consider and I admired the way he handled the situation on the Today Show. He told Matt Laurer that he made a mistake, and it was stupid. He didn’t admit to smoking pot, which is why Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott wasn’t able to arrest him from the photograph. Believe it or not, that same sheriff arrested eight people who weren’t even in the photo but were at that party where it was taken!
People who think Michael should be treated just like anyone else in that situation – listen up, this would NEVER happen to anyone else. While conducting a ridiculous search through the living quarters of the eight suspects, the police found only a few small bags of pot and an opportunist trying to Ebay the water bong for $100,000 dollars, but they sure did make a statement, just like Kellogg’s. Even if weed isn’t harmful to your health, it can put you in jail or get you bumped off the Frosted Flakes box.
While not denying that he smoked pot, Michael delivered a message too. Don’t get caught. When asked if he had a history of using marijuana, Michael said “It was stupid”.
He’s looking back at the world and saying he’s sorry that he got caught. That’s all. Matt Laurer told Michael that there were people at that party that he didn’t know, referring to the asshole that took the photo, and asked him if he thought there was a lesson to be learned in being more careful.
Exactly, Matt. And Michael understands this. He knows that as safe as marijuana may be physically, people still want to hate on it. He’s sorry for offending some people by shining a flashlight into their dark caves, but he’s not selling out like others who needlessly check themselves into rehab centers as a public relations stunt.
No, not our champion – he brushed his shoulder off and is standing tall. Nobody can deny that he is living proof of what a pot smoker can accomplish.
Personally, I didn’t see a bit of the 2008 Olympics, but Michael Phelps is my hero.