Ask a Stoner

Dear Stoner: Can Olympic athletes smoke pot?

Dear Stoner: I'm watching this dreadlocked skier from Norway right now and wondering if Olympic athletes can smoke pot.
Reggie Ross

Dear Reggie: The Olympics have a notoriously drug-free stance regarding competition, especially when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs. For years, that also included a pretty hard-line stance on cannabis, and as much as fifteen nanograms in your system the day of a test could disqualify you. That's exactly what happened to the very first Olympic snowboarding gold-medalist, Ross Rebagliati, who had to fight to keep his medal after testing positive after the 1998 Nagano games.

All that changed last year, however. The World Anti-Doping Agency, which sets the drug-testing rules for the International Olympic Committee, increased the threshold of inactive THC to 150 nanograms per milliliter of blood — meaning some athletes could be puffing up until the week of competition and still pass the tests. "We wanted to focus on the athletes that abuse the substance in competition," a WADA spokeswoman said in May 2013. "This should exclude cases where marijuana is not used in competition."

The various countries can still enact their own policies, though it is unclear whether the United States Olympic Committee has kept a hard line or not. No official word has come from the USOC on cannabis specifically since the WADA decision was made, other than the USOC releasing a statement saying they respected the WADA decision and would "work to ensure that U.S. athletes are appropriately educated."

Dear Fellow Stoners: A few weeks back we got a note from a reader asking why Denver head shop Phat Glass Gifts had boarded up its doors and windows. As longtime customers of the half-collapsing former house that was Phat Glass, we dug around for an answer. According to an employee at the Wellspring dispensary across the street, the lease on the old building simply ran out. The owners of Phat Glass stayed open until the last day and then called it quits. We've tried reaching them, but haven't gotten a response. But we did hear back from the reader who'd sent the original query:

"Wow, that is truly heartbreaking. Since I can remember, that was the only place I went to buy glass, no exceptions. Everything I bought there was high quality. I have an almost full punch card that I had planned to use sometime soon. I suppose it is worth more to me now as a memento of Denver's best head shop than a free pipe is. I have to echo your feeling as well. Sad day."