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Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

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By Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, Mason Tvert, Chelsea Green Publishing

A new book explains how we're steering people away from

cannabis and toward the use of a very harmful and deadly

substance: alcohol.


The following is an excerpt from the just-released book, Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? by Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert (Chelsea Green, 2009).

There is no societal stigma associated with this excessive drinking. It is all part of the celebration. Like the old saying goes: “We don’t have a drinking problem. We drink. We get drunk. No problem.”

...Phelps issues a public statement. He apologizes for his “regrettable” behavior and “bad judgment,” and promises “it will not happen again.” Was Phelps’s apology issued because he was reportedly also drunk and “obnoxious” at the same party? Of course not. Being drunk in public is not the sort of behavior that triggers public outrage and social condemnation.Taking a hit or two of marijuana, on the other hand, most certainly is.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Leon Lott, the sheriff in Richland County, South Carolina, where the bong hit heard round the world had occurred, launched a criminal investigation of the matter worthy of a hunt for a suspected terrorist. Several weeks following the incident, twelve armed deputies, with guns drawn, burst into the home where the party had taken place and arrested two residents. Cops also seized four laptops, a desktop computer, and an electronic storage device. They found less than six grams of marijuana in the home -- which is about what they would find in any off-campus apartment in the United States -- but they were hardly concerned about illegal contraband. Rather, the lawyers for the defendants said that the cops only wanted to know whether the two individuals had witnessed Phelps using marijuana. Richland County law enforcement officials later arrested six more individuals, all in an effort to weed out the nation’s most famous weed aficionado. Finally, after several weeks of this taxpayer-funded silliness, Sheriff Lott eventually announced that he had failed to find sufficient evidence to press criminal charges against Michael Phelps, or for that matter, anyone else.

Let’s review, shall we? The most successful Olympian in history attends a college party, pounds a few beers, and allegedly behaves like a drunken ass. At some point during the evening, he inhales a bit of marijuana. When all of this becomes public, he is run through the social, corporate, and legal wringer—but only for his suspected pot use. So what lesson has our champion swimmer learned? That’s simple. Next time he goes out in public, he should just stick to being drunk and obnoxious.



                                               Look at the flowers

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