Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Leftism and Wrestling: Ever Try Wrestling... ON WEED?

"Snoochie Boochies." — Shane McMahon (Probably)
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Even though capitalists and conservatives run and populate the wrestling business, as an artform, it lends itself to leftist ideals. This series hopes to show wrestling fans why they should embrace the left, not just for the sport/art, but also for themselves.

Shane McMahon made news the last few days for reasons other than his upcoming Hell in a Cell match against Kevin Owens. He invested money in a legal marijuana company in 2015, only to find out that its operations were pretty much barebones if they existed at all. He's suing the company for half-a-million dollars. Although McMahon has been divorced from the inner workings of WWE since exiting the company in 2009, it's funny to see him support the use of marijuana when his father's company has had a complex relationship with the recreational and analgesic drug. Rob van Dam's run as WWE Champion was famously curtailed after an arrest for marijuana (among other drugs), and other superstars have been suspended for its use. WWE has relaxed its stance on it lately, but I'm sure you can't just go around smoking a joint in Gorilla or rolling a blunt on the company bus.

McMahon, like the rest of his family, will never be considered a leftist. If anything, sister Stephanie and brother-in-law Paul Levesque will get as far left as pre-2016 primary Hillary Clinton, which is to say neoliberal, diversity-hugging, minority-pandering Joe Lieberman-Democrats at the very best. However, the issue of drug use is curious as it doesn't necessarily fall on the left-right axis of a political alignment chart. Instead, it's an issue that's more along the lines of the authoritarian-libertarian axis. It's the common ground that hippies and libertarians occupy when they're tired of arguing about whether taxation or private property are theft. Anyway, it shows that Shane McMahon probably occupies more of a libertarian space on the right.

But again, the case for research into drug legalization and ending the pointless war on controlled substances has as much foundation on the left. Ending the war on drugs would open up a lot of money for social programs and infrastructure improvements. Legalization of select drugs under stringent federal regulation could open up revenue streams to collect more money for social good. Obviously, the drugs would need to be researched, although one can have a good idea that more widespread access to opioids, for example, would be a mistake. But more access to marijuana might not be a bad thing. Obviously, it's not as safe a drug as weed enthusiasts strenuously say it is, not for the symptoms that detail a physical high, but because it's mostly consumed via smoking, which carries a lot of the same risks as cigarettes and other tobacco products. However, the other effects have been shown to be less severe than those of alcohol.

Widespread legalization of weed has benefits for wrestlers as well, mainly because of its painkilling effects. Marijuana usage first gained popular legalization for medicinal purposes, to relieve chronic pain or to relieve the nausea from chemotherapy. Wrestlers, especially ones on the road doing 300 dates a year for WWE, tend to develop chronic pain from taking repeated bumps, the intensity of which having escalated over the last 30 years. The current mode of dealing with said pain is dosing with opioid-based painkillers. These drugs are highly addictive, and their side effects are far more severe than marijuana.

Legalizing marijuana would lessen the sting of opioid abuse in wrestling locker rooms. Weed would provide effective pain relief without the nasty specter of addiction that haunts so many communities in and out of the business. Of course, the main argument against it is that users would be tempted to consume before heading to the ring, but what's to stop someone from showing up drunk or high on legal, prescribed painkillers? Companies have measures against working under the influence, and weed would be no different. The real danger obviously is the main method of consuming it. However, marijuana can be ingested as well, which gives a similar effect without the need to breathe smoke.

Shane McMahon's involvement in legal weed certainly doesn't forestall a leftist bent. It may not even indicate that he's pro marijuana consumption as much as he is at making money off anything that he might deem profitable. But his family's company would be wise to lessen whatever stigma it has against marijuana right now and even promote its use as a pain reliever when not preparing to wrestle a match. Across-the-board legalization of marijuana wouldn't solve all of America's problems in service of a better country, but it would help things out a lot.