January 2014 ushered in the legalization of personal marijuana use in Washington and Colorado. In addition to these new laws in Washington and Colorado there are several states where medical marijuana use is legal. A quick search will produce dozens of articles on the subject.
A few of those articles included: “Is Medical Weed Possible For NFL Players?” by Elizabeth Murray and several others quoting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from an interview with ESPN where he leaves open the idea of its medical use in the NFL.
It’s important to note that neither Colorado nor Washington or any of the states that permit medical marijuana use have decriminalized marijuana or legalized it. They have merely voted to amend or make legal their laws governing the personal use of small amounts of marijuana. Civil and criminal penalties, even in Colorado and Washington begin with a mere 40 grams or a couple of ounces.
The laws are no doubt being relaxed but the substance itself is still a controlled substance. Our societal views are moderating but no one is endorsing a stoner lifestyle. A limited tolerance to reduce incarceration coupled with a compassion for the sick and suffering is the motivation.
It’s not uncommon for Arrest Nation to report the arrest of an athlete, especially a college student-athlete for possession of marijuana. We hope it doesn’t become routine. For many, marijuana is still a gateway drug to a diminished life of addictions, crime and punishment.
Arrest Nation will continue to report those arrested for all the various marijuana misdemeanors and felonies on our home page but on this page we’d like to address the gateway issue.
Marion-Webster online provides three definitions and examples using the word “Gateway”.
Marion-Webster’s first definition of Gateway is “something that allows someone to achieve a desired goal and uses it as follows: <hopefully, my college degree will be a gateway to a high-paying job>”
To all the student-athletes, especially those turning pro in something other than sports, we hope your college degree will be a gateway to a high-paying job. Better still, we hope your college degree will open many doors to you that will enrich your life and provide you with opportunities to give back and enrich the lives of others.
Marion-Webster’s third definition of Gateway is “the opening through which one can enter or leave a structure, and uses it as follows: <there are security checkpoints at all of the stadium’s gateways>”
It is this definition that is most instructive to college student-athletes hoping to turn pro with their athleticism. Interestingly, Marion-Webster associated gateways with stadiums and checkpoints, which brings us back to marijuana and athletes.
Marijuana is not completely legal or decriminalized it is controlled. For those whose performance and conduct falls outside the drug laws they will also be controlled.
Marijuana and the drug culture attached to it are stadium gateways with exit checkpoints and those checkpoints remain staffed by law enforcement and corrections officers. The intention in “legalizing” marijuana was to reduce incarceration not abolish it.
Athletic performance and conduct are stadium gateways with entry checkpoints, staffed by coaches, scouts, friends and family. Entering or exiting the world of professional sports depends on an athlete’s performance and conduct and whether he or she chooses to turn pro or con.
For better or worse, why and with whom, the use of marijuana also remains a personal choice. The world of sports lives in the world of celebrity and while coaches, family and fans follow the athletes, dopers, criminals and losers vying for a bit of the spot light and money follow the celebrity.
For Arrest Nation, the story about marijuana in 2014 isn’t about its legalization or the end of its prohibition, for better or worse it’s still about Sports, Athletes and their choice of gateways.