Sheriff Leon Lott must not be swamped with cases, and must not be feeling the effects of the economic downturn, worrying about cuts to his department or anything like that, because he's got his eyes set on far more important issues.

Michael Phelps.

"The bottom line is, if he broke the law, and he did it in Richland County, he's going to be charged," [police spokesperson] Cowan said. "And there's no difference between Michael Phelps and several other people that we arrest for the same type of a charge everyday."
Except, of course, that Phelps is crazy-famous and such an arrest would get you all sorts of publicity that you would never get otherwise, and given that your department is run by a guy who rose to his current position by playing either Sonny Crockett or Rico Tubbs--the long hair makes me assume the former--that's probably all the reason you need. I suspect Sheriff Lott is pulling his linen jacket out of the closet even as we speak, to see if the sleeves will still bunch up around his elbows just so. It's probably still too cold for him to pull off the loafers-sans-socks look in Richland County, but by the time the trial rolls around, buddy, look out!

As for Phelps, what this really proves--yet again--is that smoking pot won't ruin your life. It won't stop you from being a world-class athlete, if that's what you're out to do. (Your genetic makeup is going to weigh far heavier on that.) And it won't turn you into someone who lives in his or her parents' basement well into their thirties. Grad school (which occasionally correlates with pot smoking) is more likely to result in that. But neither Phelps nor the millions of others who occasionally smoke marijuana in this country have had their lives ruined by simply smoking it.

A number of them, however, have had their lives ruined by people like Sheriff Lott and this misbegotten war on some people who use drugs. And it's time to bring that to an end.

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