Pubdate: Mon, 23 Feb 1998
Date: February 23, 1998
Source: Bellingham Herald, WA
Author:  Kevin Nelson

The recent case of Ross Rebagliati, Olympic gold medalist snowboarder
who tested positive for marijuana, presents unique challenges to the
media and the American mind.

Our media, accustomed to demonizing marijuana and its users at every
turn, cannot sit comfortably with the idea of an unpunished and
unrepentant smoker.  But where is the angle for the story?  Where is the
"amotivational syndrome"?  How to tie in marijuana's debilitating
effects on performance?  Rebagliati's intelligence and masterful ability
do not lend themselves easily to the "slacker" angle.  The question
remains: How do we reprimand, parody or at least dismiss this oddity?

The American drug war industrial complex cannot dare, for a moment,
acknowledge what tens of millions of Americans already know-that most
adult marijuana smokers are just like you and me.  They're not demons,
they're not immoral, and they're not necessarily dimwitted dudes.

Canadians are light years ahead of us on this one.  To them our
relentless drug war obsessions must appear to be paranoid delusions in a
class all our own.

Ross Rebagliati will return to his homeland a national hero, and
rightfully so.

Kevin Nelson
 Bow, WA