Chastising Phelps perpetuates the drug war

By Katherine Worthing

Unsurprisingly, the latest celebrity scandal involving Michael Phelps gained the attention of The Daily Illini in last Thursday’s editorial. The editors are disappointed in America’s favorite athlete. I’m disappointed in the editors.

How is Phelps less of a hero now than he was back in August? Perhaps instead of re-evaluating his accomplishments, we should be re-evaluating the stigma of recreational marijuana use prevalent in our country.

The photo only seems to prove that it is possible to be a productive member of society while engaging in occasional drug use. Phelps’ accomplishments are no less great because he is one of about half of Americans who have admitted to smoking marijuana at least once in their lifetimes.

Phelps’ offense of drunk driving, which endangers the lives of many, and his offense of hitting a bong, which only affects him personally, are by no means comparable. Suggesting that the two are similarly inappropriate actions demonstrates the seriousness of the flaws in the social perception of drug use.

Chastising a hero for his private actions only perpetuates an unjust war – The Drug War. Phelps has proven that one can excel while using marijuana. Maybe society is fighting for an unreasonable prohibition after all.

Katherine Worthing

senior in Media