An Admirable Change of Position on Weed

Photo: Flickr / DrPavloff (CC BY-NC 2.0)

In a remarkable op-ed on CNN today, Sanjay Gupta does an about-face on marihuana:

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.”


We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.

Amen. While I live in a more enlightened country than the US on this issue — your penal system alone is worth the legalisation — the world needs a better and more enlightened discussion of drug policy to combat social ills. There is quite simply no discussion at a serious level in Europe anymore that cannabis can be regulated by criminalisation with positive results. There is no doubt anymore that alcohol is the more dangerous drug. It’s time to decriminalise at the very least.

Also, my hangovers nowadays are just killing me. Can’t a law-abiding citizen get inebriated without feeling like a dirt road the next morning?


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