Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s About-Face Sparks Calls for Federal Marijuana Reforms

CNN's trailblazing medical correspondent has now added his voice to the chorus calling for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's marijuana laws.
By: Mithout Gomez
WASHINGTON - Aug. 12, 2013 - PRLog -- Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s sudden about-face in the ongoing discussion over marijuana legalization has now brought the issue to the mainstream, sparking heated debate across the nation about the need for federal reform.

Dr. Gupta – CNN’s trailblazing medical correspondent – had long adopted the establishment’s long-held view that marijuana was evil, addictive and a gateway to harder drugs.

But in an Op-Ed article days before the airing of his captivating documentary, “Weed,” and in subsequent interviews with CNN’s Pierce Morgan, Dr. Gupta has made an about-face, not only apologizing for his role in misleading the public, but also directing his strongest barb at  the federal government, most specifically the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“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,” Gupta wrote, adding, “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’"

Dr. Gupta’s new position – coupled with massive scientific research studies questioning the prohibitionists’ position – has strengthened the arguments of those campaigning for reform of the nation’s marijuana laws.  "The war on marijuana has funded the expansion of drug cartels, it has destroyed community-police relations and it has fostered teenage use by creating an unregulated market where anyone has easy access,” said Neil Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.  “Prohibition,” he continued, “has failed.”

“Pretty much everyone knows it, especially those of us who dedicated our lives to enforcing it." 

 Some of the laws were implemented without solid research studies that are available today and were based mostly on fear generated by a robust, well-financed propaganda campaign, proponents of legalization have argued. “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,” noted Gupta, also a neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine.  “Most frightening to me is that someone dies in the United States every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose, mostly accidental. Every 19 minutes. It is a horrifying statistic. As much as I searched, I could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose.
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