A couple weeks ago, I came across an interesting and compelling opinion piece from Dan Gardner of the Ottawa Citizen. The piece, titled Why is MMA OK and smoking dope isn’t, is legitimately probably one of the best–and well-researched–thought pieces I have ever read relating to the legalization of marijuana. And with the recent positive marijuana drug test of MMA fighter Nick Diaz (and tragic death to skier Sarah Burke), the article is worth revisiting.
Gardner juxtaposed marijuana’s legalization with both these dangerous athletic activities: Mixed Martial Arts and “The Superpipe.” The essential message: both these activities “human cockfighting”/brutalizing yourself without any protection and sending your body a hundredish feet in the air at an incredible speed ARE A LOT MORE DANGEROUS THAN RIPPING A BONG.
The list of sports that are really really really dangerous goes on and on and on. Football, wrestling, boxing, hockey, etc…–they’re all a lot more dangerous than smoking marijuana. But they are also a hell of a lot more socially acceptable.
Two years ago, the scientist who headed the United Kingdom’s government advisory board on drugs published a paper in which he concluded that consuming the illicit drug ecstasy is “no more dangerous than horse riding.” He was savaged. Not because he was wrong. He wasn’t. The statistics are clear. But stigma plays a huge role in risk perception and showing that a stigmatized activity is no riskier than a socially approved activity upsets intuition and moral judgment. Which makes people angry.
Mr. Gardner deserves a round of applause for those sentences of sheer and utter fucking BRILLIANCE. Stigma, stigma, stigma. That’s why marijuana remains illegal and that’s why it will continue to until the critical mass reaches its tipping point. Hippies, potheads, thugs, Mexicans, gingers, hipster–whatever–stigmas are a natural plague of this society. But unlike the term “hipster” or “gangster,” the term “stoner” is not at all so black and white. EVERYONE smokes weed. And by everyone, I mean every type of motherfucker inhabiting this planet. Black, white, fat skinny, hick, Jew, lesbians, athletes, politicians, lawyers. There are closet smokers where you’d least expect them to be. BUT it’s still stigmatized…And for some reason, still illegal in a sort like MMA.
Which confuses the shit out of me. David Stern, the NBA’s white Jewish and generally strict commissioner recently decided that the league NOT test for marijuana use in the offseason. Because he knows it’s commonplace for NBA players to smoke and it’s a waste of breath, time, and resources to try to pretend otherwise and prevent them from doing so.
But the MMA suspends Nick Diaz because he smokes weed? That aint kosher. So this is an open appeal to DANA WHITE. What the fuck bro? How does the most “forward thinking/evolutionary/modern” sports entrepreneur/commissioner explain suspending an athlete for smoking marijuana. People in your sport LITERALLY KILL PEOPLE. WITH THEIR BARE HANDS. Data is not available on permanent brain damage that MMA fighters subject themselves to, but you can be sure as shit that its comparable to NFL and Boxing data. And that it’s a hell of a lot more dangerous for someones brain to get pummeled by flying knees to the face than it is to smoke a blunt.
To clarify, I am not at all saying sports that come with health risks should be banned or even regulated. That type of bullshit leads to “the pussification of America.” But I think it’s a worthy comparison to make and a solid talking point for the general cause to legalize marijuana. Using legitimate examples that make simple, logical point about the lack of dangers in cannabis use–particularly when compared to socially acceptable activities like dangerous sports–IS HOW YOU MAKE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THINGS.
Commonplace actions like Jaywalking or Riding a Subway or Going on a Rollercoaster come with a lot more hazards than smoking weed. But when you use dangerous sports–or alcohol use–to juxtapose marijuana’s threat to safety–people that have never smoked reefer in their lives should be able to nod in agreement that yes, something does not add up here. And that’s the biggest point of all this gibberish: to help the general naive and easily-manipulated public see the light.