Mainstream media is not often friendly to those who call for ending or even scaling back the War on Drugs, but there is one media figure who has become more and more of a proponent of at least ending the War on Marijuana, that being CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Gupta has produced not one, not two, but three documentaries for CNN on marijuana and it’s medical uses. The third is set to air this Sunday, April 19th at 9pm EST/PST on CNN.
The documentary, “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution”, will largely focus on the efforts of MAPS – the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. For more on MAPS, check out my interview with MAPS’ Brad Burge from a recent Lions of Liberty Podcast.
Gupta wasn’t always a proponent of medical marijuana. Rather, he underwent a transformation after conducting extensive research into the subject. In a 2013 op-ed entitled “Why I changed my mind on weed”, Gupta expressed a mea culpa for being a part of the problem in the past, and explained why he changed his views:
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.
I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.
Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. 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. Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.
I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and come to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana.
We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.
Fast forward to 2015, and Gupta has written another op-ed prior to the release of “Weed 3” entitled “It’s time for a medical marijuana revolution”, where he writes:
I know how easy it is do nothing because I did nothing for too long. Take a good look at the data, educate yourself and talk to the patients, who are often out of options and find their hope in the form of a simple plant.
Journalists shouldn’t take a position. It makes sense. Objectivity is king. But, at some point, open questions do get answered. At some point, contentious issues do get resolved. At some point, common sense prevails.
So, here it is: We should legalize medical marijuana. We should do it nationally. And, we should do it now.
It’s commendable that a mainstream figure such as Dr. Gupta would reevaluate his positions in such a way and change his tune on this issue when it would seemingly have little benefit to his career. Of course, Gupta only advocates for medical marijuana, and would seemingly still support laws which would punish someone who just wants to smoke a joint and listen to some Pink Floyd on the weekend, but we’ll take what we can get when it comes to the MSM.
Meanwhile, another mainstream figure who is rumored to be gearing up for a 2016 Presidential run, that being Governor Chris Christie, also made a statement regarding marijuana, though he doesn’t take quite as favorable a stance as Gupta. Christie recently spoke to Iowa radio host Hugh Hewitt, when this exchange took place:
Hewitt: Right now, we’ve got the states of Colorado and Washington flaunting federal law by allowing people to sell dope legally. If you’re the President of the United States, are you going to enforce the federal drug laws in those states?
Christie: Absolutely. I will crack down and not permit it.
Hewitt: All right, next …
Christie: Marijuana is a gateway drug. We have an enormous addiction problem in this country. And we need to send very clear leadership from the White House on down through the federal law enforcement. Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law. And the states should not be permitted to sell it and profit from it.
Despite the fact that medical marijuana is technically now legal in New Jersey, there is no statewide marketplace for medical marijuana, and in reality it is still mostly illegal for the vast majority of New Jersey’s citizens. Sort of like guns, as past podcast guest Brian Aitken found out the hard way.
It’s interesting that Christie it still taking such a harsh stance against marijuana, when public opinion in so rapidly shifting in favor of it. Unlike his rapidly shifting statements on gun rights, Christie apparently doesn’t see the political expediency in such a change to his marijuana views. Perhaps in his view, the Republican base that he is attempting to cater to with favorable statements about guns will also have more traditional views on marijuana.
It’s clear that Chris Christie is not a man of principle, but I’m not going to lie: I hope he runs for President. Why? Material, baby! Endless material! Until then, we’ll keep an eye on this character just in case, and take a break to watch Gupta’s documentary this Sunday.
Check out the promo for “Weed 3” below:
– WA State Auditor is indicted…for tax fraud!
– Ron Paul and Barney Frank will take part in a debate on the role of government at the place where the Lions of Liberty met when they were mere cubs…at Penn State!
– Business Insider points out how health care costs have been skyrocketing under Obamacare.
– Oathkeepers are gathering in Oregon to prevent the seizure of gold mines by the Bureau of Land Management.
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