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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. Dp says:

      One of the best videos I’ve seen in a long time to help the legalization of MJ. The con arguments were not very powerful as they never are but all the facts for we’re well documented. This is a very useful drug not only for people suffering dramatically, but also for other psychological reasons that help people with problems that are not seen as medical. I have alway been a very shy person which makes it very difficult for me to talk to people I do not know very well. When I have smoked even just one hit it mellows me out and helps me get past my fears, which makes me a lot more comfortable in certain situations and lets me relax so I am not as nervous talking. This needs to be legalized very soon as it is a much better alternative to alcohol and tobacco. Free this nation!

    2. phrtao says:

      This sets a precedent for others to change their minds. It will show that personal courage can be associated with positive PR. Most of all it is a another sign of the unstoppable movement towards the end of prohibition (which is looking closer all the time).

    3. LC says:

      He argued that it should be treated like alcohol for recreational use on a previous Piers Morgan show as well as on “Katie” and he eluded to that stance on Craig Ferguson all within the past month. I wish I had saved that video of his “Katie” appearance before it got yanked from youtube. You’ve gotta see it if you can find it.

    4. somedood says:

      I’ve been complaining about this guy for years. It is very surprising to hear something sensible and even remorseful from him at all.

    5. Actua says:

      He should have mentioned that caffeine ALSO has a 9% addiction rate.

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      A while back I wrote my Congressional Representative, Andy Harris, about medical marijuana. His response cited irreproducible studies from 30 years ago. It took me 2 minutes to google-up a subsequent metastudy showing the opposite of his claims. A metastudy! A study of studies. That’s reproducible science.

      No competent physician would treat patients based on irreproducible studies that are 30 years out of date. Yet when it comes to public policy, this kind of incompetence is routine.

      Oh yeah, almost forgot, Dr. Harris IS a physician.

      For further commentary check this out:
      https://soundcloud.com/mutantninjagroucho/my-mothers-name-was-mary-jane

    7. owen says:

      I used to like and respect this guy until he joined up with the government and became one of the brainwashed. He was so anti pot, I thought “Wow, if they can brainwash this doctor, nobody is safe”.

      Then this revelation: He woke up. He deprogrammed his own brain and started to look at FACTS.

      And so now, I like this guy.

      Now, all of you DEA PIGS, LAWYERS, COPS, JUDGES (the folks who profit from pot being illegal)this could be you!!! I hate you all right now, but there is hope that you can all be deprogrammed – preferably in a jail cell – and returned to society rehabilitated. And then I may accept you a decent human being again, like Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

    8. Galileo Galilei says:

      “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.”

      These people deliberately lied to wage their damn “culture war” on the rest of their fellow Americans. They’ve instilled a clever apparatnik into the bureaucracy of government playing NIDA and the FDA as a means to suppress the advancement of medical science. This is nothing short of a crime against humanity, folks. These people should be made to pay for this crime. It is not somehow OK. We-were-just-doing-our-jobs is not a justification.

      “Surely they must have quality reasoning…” – Oh, really. Mr. Gupta failed to do his job at CNN properly. He failed to ‘check his facts’ as we once expected professional journalists to do as a matter of course.

      Their is an anti-science movement in government more pervasive than than just the marijuana issue. We’ve had two presidents assure us that the door is still open on evolution. Many politicians assure us the climate change is simply an international conspiracy among scientists. This anti-science crap is a sure fire way to turn the USA into just another country on the globe. And a damn expensive one to boot.

    9. Just An Observer says:

      It took a supposedly educated man this long to realize he had been spoofed by gov’t propaganda? I say revoke his credentials and send him packing! He’s just another mindless zombie.

      Now it’s time to kick the Chimp-In-Chief to the curb. He’s just another supposedly educated person who continues The War On Some Drugs along with a whole host of misguided policies. Maybe if he kept smoking some dope, his mind would clear up…LOL!

    10. Judy says:

      Howard Samuels is just another loser (ex-heroin addict) who wants to profit from others misery by forcing people into rehab clinics whether they want it or need it. Check out this article to get more scoop on the way this prohibitionist moron thinks:

      http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/09/opinion/samuels-pot-addiction/?hpt=hp_c2

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