Will today be the day President Barack Obama finally considers changing the federal government's position on marijuana? Obama will be speaking at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit today, and he's asked Dr. Sanjay Gupta - an outspoken medical marijuana advocate - to chair the panel.
At the event in Atlanta, Georgia, Obama will announce his administration's next steps to address America's opioid epidemic. It'd be wishful thinking to hope that Obama will reverse his position on cannabis reform and support medical marijuana at the panel. But maybe Sanjay Gupta weed wisdom could put a bug in Obama's ear about how marijuana could help combat the opioid crisis.
Like Obama, Gupta once opposed marijuana reform. He even wrote an article for Time magazine in 2009 called "Why I Would Vote No On Pot." But in 2013, he admitted he'd been wrong in an article for CNN:
"I apologize because I didn't look hard enough," wrote Dr. Gupta. "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."
He also made the mistake of putting too much faith in the status quo.
"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."
"We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that," Dr. Sanjay Gupta wrote.
To set the record straight, Gupta released the documentary, WEED: A CNN Special Report By Dr. Sanjay Gupta (2013), which features Gupta traveling the world to explore how marijuana is used medically and recreationally - as a lifeline as well as part of a lifestyle. He followed up on that thought-provoking doc with two sequels: WEED 2: Cannabis Madness in 2014 and WEED 3: The Marijuana Revolution in 2015.
You can watch the first instalment of the series below.
Click here to read Dr. Sanjay Gupta's reaction to the August 2016 DEA announcement on marijuana legalization and classification.
h/t US News
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