Pubdate: Tue, 14 Aug 2012
Source: Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
Copyright: 2012 Newark Morning Ledger Co
Author: Sid Dorfman


With every good act, there is room for mischief.

Marijuana is about to be sold legally to New Jerseyans for medical 
reasons only, to ease the pain and distress of the ailing, most of 
them elderly.

But now the trick will be to keep everyone else from jumping in for a 
share of the most widely used drug in the country, if not the coffee 
shops of the Netherlands.

One of the things the Olympics taught us is that drugs power some 
athletes, and that marijuana in particular is in widespread 
recreational use, even if it plays no role in helping the athlete.

The key problem remains that those who wish to inhale the weed always 
find a way to do so. Nothing was more revealing than the incident 
involving Stephany Lee, the American wrestler who was bounced from 
the Olympics in June for testing positive.

Lee claims that at least 50 Olympians used pot. Multiply that 
incident by any number and the amount of usage is graphically evident.

"We party as hard as we train," she confessed.

 From teenagers to adults of any age, the use of marijuana is 
reportedly increasing every day, indicating perhaps an ever greater 
social acceptance of the weed. That particularly includes athletes, 
who bob and weave to conceal its use from their coaches, and 
sometimes fail, as the Olympics proved.

The current rate of usage among high school seniors is reportedly at 
its highest in 12 years. It is not known to help them graduate.

Cannabis is most prevalent in Division 1, the biggest in the NCAA 
family of the nation's colleges, even though these colleges have the 
most to lose if they don't keep their athletes fit for the major and 
monied bowl competition.

Even the most famous Olympian of them all almost blew it in an 
incident that could have forestalled the greatest record in history. 
Back in 2009, Michael Phelps was photographed sucking on a marijuana pipe.

He got a three-month suspension from USA Swimming, but went on to 
break the Olympic bank on medals, a total of 22.

New Jersey's welcomed approval of marijuana for medical reasons 
likely will come with enough leakage for athletes to get their share, 
corrupting a noble purpose. If the junk is out there, a lot of folks 
are going to get it, as they do now from junk peddlers.

I expect there will be plenty of the happy-day stuff around (No, I've 
never used it myself) and eventually the athletes will get their 
hands on it, along with the cagey teenagers. If there is a perfect 
way to control marijuana, it has not yet been found.

The use of drugs in the Olympics -- three athletes failed drugs tests 
in these Games -- showed how difficult it is to control.

It already has been suggested that sports needs to revise the rules 
on marijuana, although no one has come up with a viable idea on just 
how to do that.

It is obvious an athlete under the influence of pot would hardly be 
at his best, and maintaining current league rules against its use 
would be imperative. No manager would want a bunch of pot heads 
trying to win him a pennant.

Athletes always have been using, or experimenting with, stimulants of 
one kind or another to further their careers. Steroids mostly have 
been the drug of choice, and the consensus is that players have been 
using the junk for years before the leagues clamped down. Now and 
then, there is still a player flunking out.

According to one report, even Babe Ruth used to inject himself with 
an extract from sheep testicles, and the great home run hitter lived 
to regret it. It did nothing for him except take him out of the 
lineup until a bellyache went away.

In another report, Mickey Mantle is said to have lost his famous home 
run battle with Roger Maris because a doctor administered a bad 
concoction to treat an abscess. Actually, there have been so many 
stories about the use of steroids and other drugs in baseball that a 
crackdown by the leagues was inevitable, especially when Congress got involved.

Jose Canseco really stirred things up with his first book, "Juiced," 
and a second book, "Vindicated." The names that flew off the pages 
were Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, and Ivan Rodriguez, 
among others, and the denials began to soar.

His second book included the name of Alex Rodriguez, which likely 
will have some bearing on how the Yankee star's final statistics, 
relative to the Hall of Fame, are treated.

McGwire may anticipate continued rejection, although for awhile he 
was one of the most beloved players ever.

The big slugger, who gave the baseball public that wondrous home run 
duel with Sammy Sosa, turned out finally to have been a longtime user.

Sosa, himself, has been suspect in that connection. Sad.
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