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Reefer madness

February 2, 2009 - Steve Murch
Marijuana is a hot topic again, thanks in part to Michael Phelps. A photo of Phelps using a bong was all the rage this past weekend. The incident has set off a mild whirlwind of controversy.

Forget the pot usage for a second, which is in and of itself stupid, but focus on where Phelps did it — at a college party. That is where Phelps earns the appropriate label of “dope.”

What is the one must-have for college kids? A cell phone. And what do most, if not all, cell phones have these days? Cameras. Was Phelps that oblivious to his surroundings to not realize someone was going to get a photo of it? Maybe he didn’t care, which seems like it might be the case.

The other thing that is striking about the incident is that it apparently happened in November and it just came to light now, a couple of months after the incident. And, the photo appeared in a British newspaper.

You have to wonder what took so long and why in Britain. Did the student not know what he had? And did the person put the photo up for auction, causing its delay?

Either way, the news comes before a Swiss study just released says pot smoking is on the decline among teens. The Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems says that kids are going out less often with friends and smoking less pot in the process.

Well, that would make sense since I don’t know any parents who are going to sit at home at night and share a joint with their kids. It gives new meaning to chillin’ with mom and dad.

The survey was taken from 2002-2006, according to a story by the Associated Press. The study was of 15-year-olds in 30 countries. The results appear in February’s Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, which was released Monday.

The country where pot smoking was most prevalent was Canada where 30 percent of boys and nearly 28 percent of girls used marijuana in 2006. It was down 13 percent in boys and 10 percent in girls. Switzerland was second in boys and Wales was second in girls. The U.S. was third in smoking prevalence among boys and girls — 24 percent of both, down 12 percent in boys and almost 2 percent in girls.

Marijuana use increased only in Estonia, Lithuania and Malta, and among Russian girls.

If 15-year-old kids view Michael Phelps as a role model, hopefully they follow his apology and not his actions.


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