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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Fitness > Michael Phelps puts a face to a smoking injustice

Michael Phelps puts a face to a smoking injustice

(Update — 2/16/09 — Michael Phelps will not face criminal charges.)
Marijuana drug arrests in communities of color are a common occurrence. Yet, recent news of swimmer Michael Phelps involvement with the drug is casting a whole new light on the fairness of current marijuana policy and is jumpstarting an international dialogue that is long overdue.
LatinaLista — Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps looks like a lanky, likeable kid. And when I saw that now-infamous picture of him smoking a marijuana pipe, I have to admit my first thought wasn’t in how this was going to affect his swimming career, but rather how he was lucky he was a white, lanky likeable kid.
Had he been black or brown chances are that he would have been pawning one of those gold medals for his bail. He may still have to but the fact is he’s still free while eight others who partied with him are finding themselves cuffed and jailed.
Authorities say they are building a case against Phelps by arresting those eight unlucky potheads. It doesn’t matter that sheriff’s deputies admit to only confiscating an ounce of marijuana. It’s against the law to smoke, possess or share the drug with anyone and so manpower and taxpayer money will be dedicated to bringing Phelps to justice — the threat to society that he is.
I can’t help but think that for thousands of African Americans and Latinos who have found themselves in the same situation as Phelps, law enforcement has never been so patient when it comes to waiting to arrest them for smoking pot — and they weren’t even photographed in the act!
Phelps’ involvement may be temporarily bad for his endorsement career but it’s a good thing for highlighting the need for change in our marijuana drug laws, especially for the sake of people of color.
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Comment(6)

  • Horace
    February 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    “……..and they weren’t even photographed in the act!”
    How do you develop a case for smoking pot with only a photograph? No weed, no smell, no witnesses that the materiel was actually pot. That’s what the prosecuter said. He has an excellent point. More baloney from Marisa.

  • Marisa Treviño
    February 16, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Well, Mr. Horace, that photograph was more than what happened when the Latinos who were framed in fake drug busts by Dallas police who were framed with sheetrock http://www.dallasnews.com/s/dws/spe/2003/fakedrugs/fakedrug1103.html or the 46 African Americans who were framed in Tulia, Texas by the word of a corrupt informant. No baloney just noticing how easy it was for him to get off.

  • Horace
    February 16, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    So what? None of that has any bearing on the Phelps case. The fact is that mere photographs are not sufficient evidence on which to base a case which depends upon the prohibition of the possession of a chemical substance. I really don’t give a damn about your other anecdote. This is similar to other cases you bring up that have no nexus to the case at hand. You are so consumed with so-called injustices to Latinos that your good sense goes out the window. Do have some kind of convenient catalog of incidents that you pull from your files, for the sole purpose of abusing the authorities at every turn, no matter how irrelevant? If one policemen lies or commits a crime, you pull one out of the hat to discredit the honest ones by analogy, i.e. all policemen are crooked. Pulling the race card when it doesn’t apply destroys your credibility. I can’t but help think that you’re doing injury to Latinos as an ethnic group by using false and off-the wall comparisons and analogies.

  • Idler
    February 17, 2009 at 6:33 am

    The president of the United States gets a pass too. So what? The focus on race here is obsessive. To a hammer, everything is a nail.

  • SunflowerPipes
    February 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    So Michael Phelps is a guy who drinks at parties smokes a little gambles on high stakes games of beer pong and is the all time greatest Olympic medal winner he sounds like a pretty cool guy to me. Michael Phelps is an American Hero. He stood tall and made America proud at the Beijing Olympics. This is how he is treated. Michael Phelps did a tremendous amount of work to achive what he did. Who can forget the pride we felt with the each gold medal Phelps won in China, how can we as Americans forget all of those things and hang a man for smoking a glass water pipe at a college party. It is time that we as a country stand up for the rights of the individual, it’s time we stand together with our neighbors and take collective control of our destinies. Write any congressman or a senator; imagine the weight of millions of emails calling for a change in policy. Lets stop them from arresting college kids at parties in America.
    SunflowerPipes.com

  • Sandra
    February 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Horace, I see this in many Hispanic pro-illegal blogs. They take one incident and blow it all out of proportion. It borders on lies, deception and the race card. Everything they say is geared towards illiciting sympathy for Hispanics and in particular the illegal kind. They are masters of spin and exaggerations to further their agenda.
    Have you ever been to this blog?
    http://immigrationmexicanamerican.blogspot.com/search?q=
    A bigger liar and spinmaster you will never encounter. She only allows one anti to post in her blog now as she can’t handle the truth. That is another thing they do is to stifle freedom of speech from the other side. I do however give Marisa credit for not doing that.

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