published Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Mark Wiedmer: Harvey-Clemons might see future in Colorado

Josh Harvey-Clemons
Josh Harvey-Clemons
Evan Stichler

Some coincidences are simply too rich too ignore. Such as the fact that on the same day that Georgia sophomore safety Josh Harvey-Clemons is suspended for the Bulldogs' 2013 opener at Clemson for smoking marijuana, Colorado signs into law a set of regulations governing how recreational pot should be grown, sold and taxed.

Unfortunately for Harvey-Clemons, any thoughts he might have of transferring to satisfy his need for weed should be snuffed out by the fact that you'll have to be over 21 to purchase pot legally and he won't even turn 20 until February 2014.

But, hey, he could always wind up with the NFL's Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks somewhere down the road, since the state of Washington has similar laws on the books.

As for whether or not Uncle Sam actually will allow this grass to pass remains foggy, since federal law still prohibits the sale and use of marijuana except for medical purposes, mostly as pain relief for cancer patients.

But given the Colorado guidelines should its state law hold -- adults over 21 can possess up to an ounce and can grow up to six pot plants -- it's not exactly blowing smoke to envision the campuses of Colorado and Colorado State succumbing to Reefer Madness.

And should either of those programs -- as well as Washington and Washington State -- begin seriously competing for football or basketball national championships any time soon, expect state legislatures the country over to bang the bong for change that can fire you up.

This isn't in any way to say anyone should follow Colorado's lead. At a time when we've made such giant strides against smoking tobacco, it seems a wee bit strange to somewhat encourage marijuana use.

Pot may or may not be worse for you than tobacco or alcohol -- and it is hard to imagine anyone racing through roaches at the rate they do cancer sticks -- but unless you're fighting cancer it also would be hard for anyone to argue that marijuana actually is good for you.

And if you have cancer, if it makes you feel better you should be able to do whatever the heck you want as long as it's not harmful to someone else.

Yet regardless of how you view pot, here we are again, once more conflicted by how to reasonably argue it's wrong to drink or dope when you're old enough to die for your country.

Yes, Georgia coach Mark Richt had little choice but to suspend Harvey-Clemons. And the Bulldog Nation may reasonably wonder why these suspensions keep happening to their college football heroes come the offseason -- just in case the names Isaiah Crowell, Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree have swiftly faded from memory.

But these also are increasingly complex and contradictory times. For proof, consider this quote from former Atlanta Falcon and Tennessee Vol Chuck Smith about the mixed messages of celebrity:

"People are rewarded for being flawed. Snoop Dogg sells Cadillacs and he's the biggest weed smoker since Cheech Marin."

Forget Cadillacs. Imagine the financial opportunities if pot is legalized far beyond Colorado and Washington. Cheech and Chong alone could become Apple big. (Or should that be small?) They could start Cheech and Chong Farms to grow ganja legally. Or what about Cheech and Chong's Toke and Tote convenience stores, the perfect marriage of Mary Jane and munchies. And speaking of munchies, stock in Frito-Lay. Hershey's and Taco Bell could skyrocket if recreational pot becomes the rule rather than the exception throughout our 50 states. Even Roach Motel could take on a whole different meaning.

Of course, the Feds could stop all of this. But as Colorado governor John Hickenlooper joked to The Associated Press on Tuesday in referencing the U.S. Department of Justice's unrelated scandals: "They've been kind of busy."

We may all -- parents, teachers, coaches, law enforcement -- become busy with this in the future as we attempt to separate fact from fear regarding one of our most controversial issues.

But for the Centennial State, at least for now, it can launch a whole new ad campaign around the old John Denver classic, "Rocky Mountain High -- Colorado."

If Snoop's unavailable, Harvey-Clemons might apply to become a spokesman. He could even opt to be paid in cannabis instead of cash.

Contact Mark Wiedmer at mwiedmer@timesfreepress.com.

about Mark Wiedmer...

Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...

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LaughingBoy said...

Stick to Kentucky stuff.

May 29, 2013 at 4:38 p.m.
NorthGaBrad said...

You have derailed Wiedmer, slow news day? Course it is, your pitching muckraking UGA articles again.

May 29, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.
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