By Morgan Fox
Michael Phelps just swam his way into the history books by winning more Olympic medals than anyone, ever.
Pretty impressive, considering that the same guy was publicly shamed and persecuted just a couple short years ago for choosing to relax with a substance that is demonstrably safer than alcohol.
But should we really be surprised? We’ve all seen the negative effects that alcohol can have on athletic training and performance. And after all, a recent study showed that marijuana has no long-term negative effects on breathing or lung function.
More and more athletes are coming forward about their marijuana use, from a wide variety of sports, citing both medical benefits for treating injuries and the much lesser impact of recreational use compared to alcohol. Unfortunately, many continue to be punished for it.
UFC fighter Nick Diaz was suspended and fined for testing positive for THC metabolites after a February bout in Los Vegas, even though he was not under the influence at the time. Diaz is a licensed medical marijuana patient in his home state of California, and medical marijuana is also legal in Nevada.
More recently, Phelps’ fellow Olympic contender Stephany Lee was kicked off the U.S. wrestling teamfor a positive marijuana test.
It is time we stop punishing the nation’s greatest athletes for using marijuana. These individuals have the ability and opportunity to smash the negative stereotypes that marijuana users have had to live with for so long but are being cheated out of their shots at personal and national glory by close-minded officials and archaic policies.
Published with special permission from the Marijuana Policy Project