We look at past controversies involving marijuana post legalization.

Ricky Williams

Reggie Williams
By Craig ONeal – originally posted to Flickr as Jacksonville Jaguars Reggie Williams, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4324951

Reggie Williams was on top of the football world in the 2000’s. Williams was a first round draft pick going 9th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a wide receiver he had quite a career until he got caught with the whacky tabacky.

In 2006 his troubles started. He was arrested and caught with possession  of marijuana in 2006 and a DWI in 2007. While the charges were eventually dismissed in each case he had to to attend the NFL’s “pretrial intervention program”. Sounds a lot like forced confession school but hey- maybe he couldn’t afford a better lawyer. 

The NFL is the most progressive league in the world is a statement no one’s ever said out loud. With a straight face. It shouldn’t come as a shock that their views on marijuana would come off as a little old fashion. To be fair this is the 2000’s we are talking about. People had real issues to worry about like the President of the United States being a dangerous moron. My actual point, they weren’t the only sports league that had marijuana listed as a banned substance.

Reggie Williams was the NFL’s “public enemy number one” because of testing positive for the banned substance. Yes you can argue he knew the rules. I don’t personally know his intentions only his actions. His action was to smoke (I assume) a joint to deal with a the pain of an on-going injury. Also to have some fun. Should he be downing opioids because that evil drug is actually legal? History will look at marijuana prohibition as what we all know it today. Filled with propaganda and it’s prohibition has nothing to do with improving social welfare. 

In a 2017 interview published by Zach Harris Reggie Williams responds to the fairness of the NFL’s drug policy:

“It is not fair because the initial premise of why marijuana is a Schedule I drug is a false premise. It shouldn’t be anywhere near the red light that it is. It’s a natural medicine. We need to be able to explore scientifically the medical benefits of marijuana. Secondarily, marijuana, in my opinion, has been used to target the African-American community, in particular. It has been a social tool of unrest and oppression, in football as well as society.”

Ross Rebagliati

Ross Rebagliati

Lets go back in time to the year of our lord nineteen hundred and ninety eight. It’s the Nagano Olympics. Canada’s hockey dream team is about to get eliminated in a stupid break away contest. But before that disaster a little known snow border named Ross Rebagliati is about to make history…for all the wrong reasons.

Ross Rebagliati won the gold for Canada in giant slalom. For a brief moment the nation was full of pride and love for our new hero. Shortly after a familiar feeling was beginning to creep into the Canadian psyche. That feeling was disappointment, shame and then a lot of questions. We’ve been through this whole situation before with that Ben Johnson lad who made history a decade prior.  

It was later revealed that Ross Rebagliati tested positive for THC, the best part of a marijuana. He was 2 nanograms over the limit of 15 nanograms which is so low I think you receive 10 nanograms into your system just for saying the word marijuana. 

Rebagliati was stripped of his gold medal and was considered a joke in the media. He was parodied on Saturday Night Live and the butt of jokes on all the late night monologues. Don’t count him out yet though. Once everyone stopped laughing they starting asking, wait, how did marijuana help him win gold?

Imagine, a snowboarder on marijuana being controversial. That’s like being shocked the stripper you fell in love with has a cocaine problem. Marijuana did not help Ross Rebagliati win gold. Talent won him gold. Thankfully the World Doping Agency reversed their decision and gave him his gold medal back. Now he moved from joke to hero and this nation couldn’t be prouder. 

What’s kind of ironic though is that Rebagliati is a firm believer that marijuana is performance enhancing. He is currently an advocate and entrepreneur for medical marijuana. His argument is that cannabis can help with concentration and CBD can help reduce inflammation while reducing stress and anxiety. Just as long as it’s not over 150 nanograms.

WWE 

WWE

Not so long ago WWE superstars had to be very careful when consuming marijuana because the consequences were pretty harsh. Now that every former superstar and has-been has their own podcast, a lot of dirty laundry is getting aired out. There are multiple stories of superstars having a dance with the devil’s lettuce. Former wrestler Konan explains on his podcast, “Keepin It 100” he likes to describe his sessions as a flight to Iran. Why Iran? Well back in the day smoking in airplanes was not only allowed but a badass thing to do. On one of these flights the Iron Sheik lit up a joint. When on of the stewardess asked the Sheik to put out the dope he replied by saying it was special tobacco from Iran and it has a unique smell. She bought the story and he was allowed to finish his exotic cigarette and I’m sure he felt higher than the aircraft. A story like that has got to be true.

According to former WWE superstar Rob Van Dam, getting caught with the substance could earn you a suspension or the WWE would strip you of your title. 

Although today it doesn’t seem like the WWE is coming down as hard as they used to for using marijuana. Good ole JR (Jim Ross former WWE announcer/talent coordinator and current AEW announcer) claims that WWE is ahead of the curve when it comes to marijuana. Since 2008 the WWE only tests for the substance once a year. JR also states that as far as he’s concerned he’d rather have wrestlers smoke a joint and order room service all night then go out on the town causing trouble. 

As the legal status of marijuana changes it looks as though the WWE will change with it. According to Charles Wright aka The Godfather aka Papa Shango “If cannabis were to become legal, then (Vince McMahon) would have no problem supporting it,” 

Marc Emery: The Prince of Pot

Prince of pot Marc Emery

When it comes to Marc Emery the quote from a certain Gotham City district attorney comes to mind, “You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain”. What Marc Emery did for changing cannabis laws in Canada and United States can not be understated. We’re not going to focus on his recent controversies.

In case you were wondering what those controversies are they include an arrest at Pearson airport in Toronto in 2017 and multiple sexual harassment claims in 2019.

In the early 2000’s Emery was a martyr of sorts due to his constant arrests and being investigated by American law enforcement. His first offence came from selling High Times magazine which was considered obscene in 1991. He actually invited the police into his store to arrest him for selling the magazine but they decided not to press charges. 

His real claim to fame was his extradition to the United States for trafficking charges for selling marijuana seeds. This entire sting was operated by the DEA even though all of his deeds were done on Canadian soil. Canadian law enforcement did not participate or interfere in the investigation. At the time of his arrest in Nova Scotia Karen (of course) Tandy said in a statement: “a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.”  That statement has not aged well. Today I’m sure Karen Tandy is complaining to someone’s manager or calling the police on an innocent black man right now.

Emery served 4 years of a 5 year sentence being released on good behavior. Three years later Canada legalized weed federally and the United States began legalizing marijuana in a number of states. That includes the state of Washington where Marc Emery was incarcerated. Take that Karen.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps
Agência Brasil Fotografias, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’m sure we all remember where we were the night we found out that Michael Phelps smoked dope. I spilt my bong water all over my coffee table because I was in such shock. How can an American Olympian hero be a dirty hippy dope smoker? Doesn’t he know that winners don’t do drugs?

Phelps Bong Hit

This is a controversy that will not age well because no one really cares. He did not test positive for marijuana like Ross Rebagliati- some jackass snapped a pic when he was filling that chamber full of cheeba smoke. Of course the debate began about marijuana and it’s affects on our athletes. Is he a good swimmer because he’s on dope or will he now become a lousy swimmer because he’s on dope? Therein lies the whole problem with these holier than thou politicians and brain washed sheep when it comes to the war on drugs. The recreational action of hitting a bong even for a short period of time defined someone as a whole. Even if that someone was a multiple gold medal winning Olympic legend. 

The consequences were non-stop roasts by late night talk show hosts. That’s a given. He was also suspended by USA Swimming and his face taken off the box of Corn Flakes. Even though marijuana is looked on a little more favourably these days I still think there would be consequences today for a 23 years old kid who did the impossible. He inhaled an whole chamber of smoke without coughing.

Captain VapeLit Rhino dot ca

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