Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon, and the chief medical correspondent for CNN. He also has  been working for a year on documentary that he has named WEED. Dr. Gupta has spent the last year reviewing the medical literature, and talking with people - especially those who use marijuana purposes. The end result is that he changed him mind about the legalization of marijuana, and sets forth his reasons in a recent CNN article.

He points out several things in the article which negate some of the more popular arguments against the legalization of marijuana. One is that is extremely addictive, and it's use leads to the use of "harder" drugs. In fact, marijuana leads to addiction in 9-10% of users. In contrast, the percentage for cocaine is 20-25%. Even that doesn't equal the addictive nature of a substance that is legal - tobacco. 30% of tobacco users end up addicted.

He also talks about the medical uses of marijuana, and talked with a number of people who use marijuana legitimately for that reason. He talks about some of them, whose only relief is through marijuna. Suprisingly, that is not a shock to the medical community.  From 1840 1930 there were hundreds of articles in the medical journals documenting the beneficial uses of marijuana.

The documentary is scheduled to air first on CNN on Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. 

In case you think Dr. Gupta is a long time marijuana crusade, he is exactly the opposite. As recently as 2009 he wrote an opinion piece in CNN titled "Why I would vote no on Pot". He now has changed his mind, and now says:

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."

Dr. Gupta is merely one of many who is re-thinking the criminalization of marijuana. While it's still illegal in Texas, it may only be a matter of time.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.
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