What a drag: a snowboarder’s trip to Japan

(U-WIRE) TUCSON, Ariz. — By now, we have all heard about Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati. The gold-medal-winner for the men’s giant slalom had his medal taken away after a drug test revealed THC in his blood system. Rebagliati was reinstated when he successfully argued that the marijuana residue that had infiltrated his blood system was the result of friends smoking pot in his presence at a going-away party, and not his personal smoking.
First, I want to publicly state that this man is a god.
And, secondly, I want to remind you he’s a snowboarder.
(Note to lawyers: the following paragraph is merely a story created within my deluded mind.) Not to conjure up some huge generality, but snowboarding doesn’t exactly bring to mind people who win national chess championships. This man, in my estimation, smoked pot and then proved himself to the world and won a gold medal.
I bet he woke up that morning, feeling good, confident and prepared. Perhaps he’d had a nice breakfast of oatmeal for energy and to help him focus, and then went out for a couple of practice runs or stretches on some open ski range. It was his day and he was feeling good. That’s when some friends of his, determined to surprise him on his big day, had just made it to his door in the taxi they took from the airport into which they flew from home that morning, and surprised him at the door with a big, fat bowl.
Afterwards they probably hit Suki’s Taco Palace, loaded up on some squid chimichangas and Hostess products, while becoming deeply involved in a conversation on the meaning of the word “penniless.”
And then he went out and won an Olympic gold medal.
You know how some athletes are honored by being photographed for the front of Wheaties boxes? I think Ross needs to be the new Twinkie Joe.
The truth is that the Olympic drug policy bans performance-enhancing drugs. I can see disqualifying someone on steroids or speed. Pot is not a performance-enhancing drug. No.
Perhaps if they had a hot dog stand at the bottom of the mountain, I can see Ross whipping down, consumed by munchie madness. In this case it’s the hot dog stand that should be removed, not Ross’ medal. If he was stoned when he won the medal, I think he deserves it all the more. I’ve known stoned people who temporarily forget how to move. I can’t imagine clipping down some mountain covered in a thin layer of newly fallen blood from previous competitors falling on the concrete-hard snow at 55 mph. I can’t imagine navigating turns, judging jumps, landing and speed, all while stoned.
According to an Associated Press article thrust at me by my editor, marijuana is again becoming the hip and happening thing in college. Fifty percent of the seniors surveyed said that they had smoked pot, and support for its legalization has increased.
With all the press medical marijuana is getting, the realization that you probably won’t wig out if you smoke it, and the fact that, for the underage crowd, it’s easier to get your hands on than alcohol, people are toking up without any fear or regrets.
And I totally support this. I still can’t stretch my mind to a point where I can truly see the dangers of smoking pot. In my mind Ross proved something: he showed that marijuana is not some life-threatening demon and its use will not reduce you to some junkie selling his VCR at a buck-fifty to afford his next fix. So Ross has made my list of gods, where he will forever sit next to great men like Jim Morrison and John Belushi — pot smokers all.

Ezekiel Buchheit’s column originally appeared in Tuesday’s edition of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.