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November 2013
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Sports and Marijuana

The sports world treats marijuana use too harshly by Patrick Hruby at Sports on Earth.

I love seeing drug policy reform articles in media aimed at other interests, because it helps reach new audiences, and certainly the sports crowd is one we’d like to get motivated.

It’s one thing for voters and politicians alike to make and cling to bad laws. That’s kind of what both groups do. It’s another thing entirely for what seems like the whole sports world — the same oft-progressive place that gave us Jackie Robinson standing up to segregation, Billie Jean King battling sexism and Muhammad Ali just saying no to the Vietnam War — to blithely and counterproductively follow suit. […]

Marijuana policy across sports should follow suit. The Houston Texans and Florida Atlantic can’t force the federal government to decriminalize pot. But they could be less uptight within their own organizations. So could leagues and governing bodies. There’s no need to test athletes for weed (most employers don’t); no need to punish them for use (leave that to the actual legal system); no need to play part-time Crockett and Tubbs when even Attorney General Eric Holder admits that federal prosecutors have no plans to go after marijuana smokers in states that permit recreational use. At the very least, the sports world could adopt a don’t ask, don’t tell approach — one that pays lips service to traditional anti-marijuana laws and social mores while recognizing those same laws and mores are rapidly shifting. […]

Once upon a time, racially integrated competition was unthinkable. So were openly gay athletes. Things change. Marijuana already is legally considered medicine in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Three years ago, an ABC News poll found that 8 of 10 Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use. Just last month, a Gallup poll found that 58 percent of the country favors legalization for recreational use as well — the first time ever that a majority of the country has supported legalization, and a 10 percent rise in a year’s time. Again, things change. Sports should, too. The alternative is shortsighted. Behind the curve. Just plain dumb. Enough with the Reefer Madness. The real problem with the Texans’ trio isn’t that they (allegedly) smoked pot; it’s that they did so a decade too soon. For Florida Atlantic’s sake, I hope Pelini robbed a bank.

It’s time for the sports world to stop their own additional misguided war against marijuana.

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35 comments to Sports and Marijuana

  • allan

    earth to Mark Stepnoski, the door is open… now if only there were just some big bad ass former NFL All-Pro center that would step up, jump in and give things a big push… we could maybe score us a touchdown.

  • james

    I have to call BS on the idea that most employers don’t drug test. A large portion of them do. I shouldn’t have to give a urine sample over pot, and neither should they.

  • thelbert

    cannabis protects the brain from injuries like concussion. the nfl should require cannabis use, not ban it.

  • Tony Aroma

    There’s no need to test athletes for weed (most employers don’t).

    Really!?!?! I thought that’s the one drug everybody tests for. It’s pretty difficult to catch somebody using other drugs, like cocaine, since they only show up on a test if you’ve used within a few hours of the test. It’s weed that everybody tests for because it can show up for days or weeks after using it.

  • darkcycle

    Police chief in Columbia S.C. threatens a Facebook user with arrest for making a pro-pot legalization statement on the police F.B. page:
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/01/pro-pot-comment-earns-facebook-user-a-personalized-arrest-threat-from-south-carolina-police-chief/
    Boy oh boy. Raw story gives a link to the P.D.s Facebook page. Hehehehehehe. They’ll shut that down real quick, but get it while it’s hot!

    • primus

      Well that’s going to blow up in their faces. No other way to interpret the chief’s comment than as a threat. Also, seems like the chief is casually slinging around the term ‘reasonable cause’. To state that expressing a political opinion is ‘reasonable cause’ that the writer is a criminal is to so dilute the meaning of the term as to render it meaningless. I suspect that defence attorneys will keep this in mind if their client is charged by this department.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Oh my gosh, how the heck did a furriner get to be police chief in Rednecksville? Heck, it wasn’t that long ago when Chief Santiago would have been a born suspect in South Carolina. He should still be careful in neighboring towns when he’s off duty and/or out of uniform.

      I wonder, what does $40,000 of merrywanna looks like to Chief Santiago? If they use the same system of valuation as they do in North Carolina, it ain’t much.

    • claygooding

      This is what happens when you limit police by IQ,,you end up with upper echelon police that don’t even realize they are making at least 58% of the citizens they serve into enemies.

  • Freeman

    Speaking of sports and marijuana, Mark Kleiman recently offered proof positive that he never met a ban he didn’t like, in a response to an excellent point made by our couch-mate Strayan:

    And yes, on current envidence I would support a ban on football for people under the age of 21 unless they could demonstrate that they had no brains to injure.

    Witness the result of spending an entire career fretting over what to “allow” others to do in the name of “harm reduction”. When this line of thinking is followed to it’s logical end-point, the result is to ban virtually everything. I hope he never had children, because growing up under this attitude would be horrifyingly stifling.

    • Servetus

      Kleiman appears to suffer from cannabinoidophobia. As a result, he’s convinced himself that drug consumers can’t possibly know what they’re doing when they smoke pot, or drink less alcohol, or moderate with any other illicit drug, such as mushrooms. Only Professor Kleiman knows about drugs, as he gets all his drug information second-hand from his government puppet-masters.

      • claygooding

        And when there is no science he trots out his favorite boogyman from his closet full of probable harms.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        I find the prohibitionists ability to disregard eye witness testimony to be utterly mind boggling. A cohort of those people have gone even further and claim that such testimony proves them right.

        For a long, long time I’ve wondered how in the heck one would go about taking a position contrary to theirs which would express prohibitionist point of view with out being labeled as “in denial”. If I assert that I am not an armadillo, does it prove that I am in fact an armadillo?

    • strayan

      Thanks Freeman.

      I give you my latest effort:

      Mark Kleiman says:
      November 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      For those keeping score at home, “diamorphine” is the UK term for diacetylmorphine, more often known by its original trade name, “heroin.” So Strayan thinks that anyone who disfavors legalizing the use of heroin ad libitum is “bad, illogical, and scientifically illiterate.”

      Ain’t civil discourse wonderful?

      strayan says:
      November 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      I’ll make it unequivocal: anyone who holds that it’s a good idea to criminalise people who consume heroin (the people who ‘disfavor legalizing the use of heroin’) adheres to a view that is immoral, unethical, egregious – however you want to put it.

      This does not mean I favour ad libitum heroin use or that I’m opposed to efforts that discourage the use of heroin.

      I simply think heroin use should be lawful i.e. not against the law (aka legal).

      • Freeman

        You’re very welcome, Strayan — you earned it.

        BTW: In case you missed it, better watch your P’s and Q’s over there. Mark is threatening to ban commenters again and has targeted you specifically:

        There are lots of libertarian and anti-drug-war websites where it’s possible to share angry ignorance safely and harmlessly. But I’m tired of having every RBC post on drug policy hijacked by fanatics. If you have actual knowledge to share and are prepared to do so calmly and without attributing bad motives, feel free to join in, especially if your viewpoint differs from that of the poster. But from now on, I’m going to be ruthless about zapping offending comments and banning offending posters.

        Strayan, Brett, Dilan: yes, this means you.

        Mark has demonstrated an extremely sensitive perception of “attributing bad motives” when it comes to dissent with his viewpoint, particularly in comparison with his own snark-filled rhetorical style which so often wanders deep into ad hominem territory. One shouldn’t assume that it’s OK with Mark to mimic his rhetorical style in response to his rhetoric by, for instance, referring to his opinion as “angry ignorance” after he has referred to yours in exactly that way.

        • Paul McClancy

          There are lots of libertarian and anti-drug-war websites where it’s possible to share angry ignorance safely and harmlessly. But I’m tired of having every RBC post on drug policy hijacked by fanatics. If you have actual knowledge to share and are prepared to do so calmly and without attributing bad motives, feel free to join in, especially if your viewpoint differs from that of the poster. But from now on, I’m going to be ruthless about zapping offending comments and banning offending posters.

          That’s rich, considering his condescending posts/attitudes towards “anti-drug warriors”. And it isn’t like Strayan and company haven’t called him out time and time again on his facts.

  • War Vet

    The creation of the Nietzsche ‘Superman’ would be better achieved if athletes were allowed to smoke cannabis. The dawn of intellectual jocks will be upon us. Athletes who can heal their bodies at the onset, instead of lingering in the world of constant physical limitations/pains from old high school injuries.

  • cy klebs

    What I call business as usual; http://gothamist.com/2013/11/02/bernhard_goetz_busted_selling_pitif.php And Kim K’s fat bottom, I have to tolerate!

  • Jean Valjean

    ” At the very least, the sports world could adopt a don’t ask, don’t tell approach — one that pays lips service to traditional anti-marijuana laws and social mores while recognizing those same laws and mores are rapidly shifting.”
    This sentence alone shows just how far we have to go to catch up with the civil rights of the LGBT community… then Hruby comes out with “no need to punish them for use (leave that to the actual legal system),” leaving me to believe that despite his posturing as a reformer he’s actually all for the status quo… justice delayed is justice denied.

  • Duncan20903

    The NFL is fairly close to having a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. The league only tests for cannabis between April and September.

  • primus

    OT Alert!! Did I get stoned and miss the appointment of Kerli’s replacement? Who is going to be the next drug Tsar?

    • claygooding

      I have seen nothing yet but I wonder if not having an administrator in place will allow the ONDCP more time to submit their budget request,,the amount asked for can be really telling on how much all the pressure coming from every direction is having on marijuana prohibition,,if it is still drug war on the ONDCP budget,following the math of the last three years ..should increase by 30>40% from the $25 billion for 2013 up around $35 billion plus covering the overages already spent this year.
      I would imagine every reform group has spies watching for any mention of the new ONDCP budget.

    • Jean Valjean

      No drug Tsar, therefore no more War on Drugs! See, Obama and Kerli and Kev were right all along. (I don’t know about Kerli, but I bet there was grinding of teeth and stamping of little feet in the Sabet household over this…hee hee!)

      • primus

        Can’t help but wonder if they are having a hard time getting someone to take that thankless job, especially if they have seen how Kerli has been pilloried in the interwebs. With the change in the public’s mood, the job looks like a no-win for anyone with any ambition.

        • allan

          After viewing his work in WA, I’m sure Kleiman is a top rung candidate. He hates everything and can f/u anything…

          Ya know those horizontal ladders in playgrounds? When I was 8 I swung and missed the next rung, the box underneath was sand on blacktop w/ no sand where my forehead slammed to the ground. My foreskull swelled out at least 1/4 inch w/ the diameter of a golf ball. The doctor was talking to my mom (in front of me) about having to drill into my skull if the swelling didn’t go down… I still have a bimp on forehead – but no drill hole.

          I suppose, only for the children’s sake of course, we should ban playgrounds and sports for anyone under 21.

        • Tony Aroma

          The Drug Czar job is not exactly a stepping stone. It’s a pre-retirement job at best. What can an ex-czar do but rant about the evils of drugs? Not something most employers look for in an employee, although there are probably a few choice jobs for such a person still around (not for too much longer).

  • Malc

    “Everybody thinks that if you did this random testing you’d catch so many guys on PEDs. No, you’d catch more of the guys on marijuana. So [we’ve got] 475 guys under contract and 400 of them would be out with marijuana [suspensions].”
    —Dana White, president of the UFC.

    “At least a good 50 [US] Olympic athletes use marijuana regularly before they stop in time for testing.”
    —Stephany Lee

    “I just let him know that most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason”
    —Josh Howard, forward for the Dallas Mavericks. Howard admitted to smoking marijuana on Michel Irvin’s ESPN show.

    “You got guys out there playing high every night. You got 60% of your league on marijuana. What can you do?”
    —Charles Oakley (Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets)

    “I personally know boxers, body builders, cyclists, runners and athletes from all walks of life that train and compete with the assistance of marijuana,”
    —WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam

    * Even many of the best cricket players of all time, like Phil Tufnell and Sir Ian Botham, have admitted to regularly using marijuana to deal with stress and muscle aches. In 2001, half of South Africa’s cricket team was caught smoking marijuana with the team physiotherapist. They were celebrating a championship victory in the Caribbean.

  • DdC

    The Sports World Treats Cannabis Use Too Harshly ecp
    NFL’s Buzzkill
    The Hypocrisy of the NFL
    Professional Sports Hypocrisy
    Marijuana and the NFL again
    Stanford band ruins 2013 Rose Bowl (for boring people)
    Pro-Pot Ad Debuts At NASCAR Race
    The Sports World Treats Cannabis Use Too Harshly

  • NOS

    “… no need to punish them for use (leave that to the actual legal system) …”
    Hm, how about leaving it to nature to “punish” them for pot use. Of course the main problem with this is that nature “punishes” pot use with: anti-inflamation, pain relief, antioxidants, and neuroprotection among other things that, with all fingers forward, point to how evil drug prohibition is in the first place.