CNN’s Sanjay Gupta: Apologizes for Past Opposition, Delivers Full Throated Defense of Medical Marijuana

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director August 8, 2013

    CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta has reversed his previous opposition to marijuana law reform and delivered a full throated defense of cannabis’ medical applications in an editorial published this week on CNN.

    In his own words:

    Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called “Weed.” The title “Weed” may sound cavalier, but the content is not.

    I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.

    Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”

    Well, I am here to apologize.

    Click here to read the full article.

    Dr. Gupta, a neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, explains how he mistakenly bought into certain government propaganda surrounding cannabis, but through continued research and his experiences filming his upcoming documentary “Weed” (which airs on CNN on Sunday at 8pm ET and PT) completely changed his mind on the plant and its efficacy.

    I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

    They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.

    NORML applauds Dr. Gupta for openly apologizing for his role in how Americans have been “terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States” on the issue of marijuana and his recent advocacy in favor of marijuana law reforms, something we can only hope will continue. Sanjay appeared on Piers Morgan Live last night to promote his new documentary, this segment alone demands some attention for his ability to explain the medical applications of cannabis and the hypocrisy of our current laws in an intelligent and articulate manner.

    If current momentum sustains itself, Sanjay Gupta (who was named Forbes #8 Most Influential Celebrity in 2011) is just one more of what will become a long line of prominent and respected media and medical professionals who will speak up against our failed cannabis prohibition. His advocacy can have nothing but a net positive effect on the current dialogue going on in mainstream America surrounding marijuana and help continue to push public opinion in our favor.

    Sanjay Gupta’s “Weed” airs this Sunday on CNN at 8pm ET and PT

    49 responses to “CNN’s Sanjay Gupta: Apologizes for Past Opposition, Delivers Full Throated Defense of Medical Marijuana”

    1. the3ws says:

      If we actually play by Howard Samuels rules then Booze & Cigarettes should be illegal. They are the TRUE Gateway drugs, most ALL kids start out w/either or both & then may try Pot. BUT unlike Pot Booze and Cigarettes can and do kill you.

    2. MJ says:

      Thank Goodness this sounds like such a success for ending the prohibition on marijuana especially in the light of Uruguay making moves to legalize weed as well. Yay! I cant wait for the progress!

    3. Chad says:

      At least he apologized on camera and was fully honest about being wrong. The good news is we have someone who is a popular doctor on a news show and is respected by the medical community. Plus he did provide an excellent example of how Marijuana can work for people that have a much harder time with prescribed drugs as well.

      Sanjay Gupta i accept your apology, and i hope others in the Medical Marijuana community do as well.

    4. DrSteven says:

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    5. Ben says:

      Another domino falls…

      We will win this, reason will triumph.

    6. john mcclane says:

      Baptist cemetary? Many invites… those who come will be welcome… those who don’t will be cursed forever lol

    7. john mcclane says:

      But so many of you wont be welcome/

    8. Differ says:

      Wow, this is pretty great. This is a big 1-up for the movement.

    9. Differ says:

      Viewers of this segment need to take note that Howard Samuels (the anti-weed debater) is the CEO of a drug rehabilitation company.