April 17th, 2015 – A year ago CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta created a media sensation and surge of interest in medical marijuana with the release of his documentary series Weed 1 & 2. In these previous segments, Dr. Gupta apologized for his previous negative stand on the merits of medical marijuana, admitting that he had not looked closely enough at the available research. Dr. Gupta said “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that” It was Dr. Gupta’s hope that his Weed documentary series would “help set the record straight”
Now with the release of the third documentary “Weed 3”, to air this Sunday April 19th at 9pm, Dr. Gupta is going all in and declaring that “It’s time for a medical marijuana revolution”.
Dr. Gupta says he’s seeing the medical marijuana revolution taking place everywhere across America: from police officers, doctors, parents and scientists – at the ballot boxes, in newspaper editorials and with politicians now prepared to take a stand in favor of regulation and education over incarceration. A recent poll found that 53% of Americans support marijuana legalization, with 77% supporting marijuana for medical purposes.
In this the third installment of the documentary series “Weed”, Dr. Gupta delves into the politics of medical marijuana research, including an interview with President Obama. It has been reported that President Barack Obama will state his full support for medical marijuana in an interview for the documentary.
The President had previously predicted that more states will legalize recreational cannabis, and has confirmed that although marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the feds won’t interfere as states implement legalization. Gupta and Obama ALSO briefly discussed the recent “CARERS Act” bill currently on the Senate floor.
Introduced in March of this year by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, “The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States or (CARERS) Act” would reschedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II under federal law and prevent the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana users in states where it is legal.
As Senator Cory Booker says in Weed 3, “Our drug laws in this country as a whole need a revolution of common sense and compassion”. Dr. Gupta says the CARERS Act if passed would appease scientists who are begging for marijuana to be de-scheduled from the current “No Known Medical Benefit” Schedule 1 designation so they can conduct appropriate medical research. The Act would also enable veterans to gain access to medical marijuana through VA hospitals to treat PTSD.
Dr. Gupta asked if Obama supports Booker’s bill. “You know, I think I’d have to take a look at the details, but I’m on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be,” the President responded.
Dr. Gupta says when he first began shooting the documentary series, he realized he was on the right side of science but on the wrong side of ideology “When we put the first “Weed” documentary on television … I didn’t know if anyone would watch our yearlong investigation. Even worse, I didn’t even know if they would care.”
In the documentary Dr. Gupta concludes:
“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.”
“Time for a Medical Marijuana Revolution”: Dr. Sanjay Gupta