Eight months after the release of Sanjay Gupta’s primetime CNN Special “Weed”, Dr. Gupta says he is “doubling down” on pot.
“It is not easy to apologize and take your lumps, but this was never about me,” Gupta said.
Gupta is a neurosurgeon, college professor and President Obama’s 2009 pick for surgeon general of the United States. Gupta withdrew his name from consideration and continues to act as CNN’s chief medical correspondent.
Gupta released an editorial today on CNN.com further driving the point he believes medical marijuana is not a hoax and must be rescheduled immediately. CNN will air “Weed 2: Cannabis Madness,” a follow up to the original feature, Tuesday, March 11. Gupta will be taking live questions via Reddit following the special on Friday, March 14.
Gupta shocked the nation last August by publicly apologizing for his prior stance opposing medical cannabis. Gupta, who publicly opposed legalization in 2009, opened his apology by addressing his prior stance:
“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,” he said.
The primetime special aired live to 1.2 million viewers, the best ratings CNN had seen in the slot in a long time. The video continues to draw tens of thousands of viewers on Youtube and other social sharing platforms. The documentary has also been credited for sparking the demand for CBD medications and CBD-only legislation in conservative states.
Gupta’s newest letter does not mention CBD-only legislation specifically, but instead “doubles down” on his original affirmation that whole-plant cannabis has proven medicinal value and safety and must be rescheduled at the federal level.
“Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, defined as ‘the most dangerous’ drugs ‘with no currently accepted medical use.’ Neither of those statements has ever been factual. Even many of the most ardent critics of medical marijuana don’t agree with the Schedule I classification, knowing how it’s impeded the ability to conduct needed research on the plant.”
Gupta also says the federal government must reschedule cannabis because it’s the right thing to do.
“Yes, I know there is a concern many people out there will feign ailments just to get marijuana. But withholding legitimate treatment for the needy is a very unjust way of addressing that concern,” says Gupta.
Gupta finished by promising to continue to cover the topic, specifically people relocating their entire lives for safe access, regardless of the personal cost to his career.
“I worry that generations from now, my great-grandkids will find Internet headlines referring to me as the ‘pot doc.’ I do hope they will also read the rest of the story and understand the lives of the countless people who have suffered needlessly when a plant could have helped. I hope they know that I have dedicated my time to researching the medical literature, speaking to the scientists in person and piecing together a fact-based presentation meant to educate, not frighten.”
Tell us, how do you feel about Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s comments?