Pubdate: Wed, 04 Feb 2009
Source: Meliorist, The (CN AB Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Meliorist
Author: Alex Masse
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)


News sources all over the world were launched into a frenzy this past
weekend after a photo was printed in a shady British tabloid depicting
fourteen-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps smoking marijuana.

Phelps' use of marijuana appeared on the front pages of scores of
Canadian newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, Canada's largest
national daily. Because of the attention devoted to the American
athlete, stories affecting the lives of Canadians failed to achieve
front-page status.

Canadian news sources turned Phelps' criminal act into a major news
story, despite widespread acceptance of marijuana use in Canada.
Survey research indicates that over 90 per cent of Canadians support
the decriminalization of marijuana possession, and over 50 per cent
support legalization of the drug.

The photo was taken at a party while Phelps was visiting the
University of North Carolina. In it, Phelps appears to be drawing
smoke from a water bong.

Most publications offered no initial explanation of their decision to
devote highly coveted front-page space to a story about a twenty-three
year old man behaving normally in public. U.S. government websites
indicate that over 56 per cent of Americans aged 19 to 28 had used
marijuana in 2007.

Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense in the state of South
Carolina. Possession charges carry a penalty of up to 30 days in
prison for first time offenders and up to one year for repeat
offenders. Marijuana use is significantly more prevalent in Canada
than in the United States. Canada has higher rates of marijuana use
than any other industrialized country.

Marijuana, a mild narcotic, has been banned from many large-scale
sporting events, including the Olympics. However, marijuana use only
results in disqualification from Olympic competition if athletes test
positive for it while the games are underway. Marijuana tends to
inhibit - not enhance - athletic performance, although Olympic
officials have indicated that the calming effect of the herb may lend
competitors an unfair advantage.
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