Dr. Sanjay Gupta

ew names have been so repeated when it comes to medical marijuana, as that of Sanjay Gupta. Gupta, the CNN network’s chief medical correspondent has been making headlines over the past year in regards to his attitudes on medical marijuana (MMJ). MMJ has been largely controversial in the scientific community and attitudes have ranged from doubt to full on support. Gupta has come out and stated that he is “doubling down” on medical marijuana; a stance that he had once been on the opposing side of. With Gupta now fully promoting MMJ through his CNN programming, it is in the best interest of every Floridian to take note.

Gupta has made two documentary features thus far, Weed and Weed 2, both of which aired on CNN in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Gupta claims since making the first film he has witnessed the use of MMJ to “[quell] epilepsy in a child and pain in a grown adult,” as well as to “help a woman at the peak of her life to overcome the ravages of multiple sclerosis” (Doubling Down). Clips from Gupta’s documentary work have been played during legislative hearings for MMJ. Gupta even specifically locates the bureaucratic irony in the fact that that the U.S. government holds patents for MMJ use even though it classifies cannabis as a schedule I drug; a taxonomy that dictates it holds no medicinal benefits to users.

Changing Minds about MMJ in Florida

With the vote for legalization of MMJ in Florida on the horizon it is necessary to acknowledge Dr. Gupta’s sincerity on the issue. Many Floridians may be on the fence when it comes to making medicine out of cannabis, therefore it is beneficial to note Dr. Gupta’s change of heart. Gupta’s 2009 Time magazine piece was titled “Why I Would Vote No on Pot”; he, like many others held large assumptions about the credibility of the research on MMJ (Why I Changed My Mind). Dr. Gupta has since fully apologized for his misguided assumptions, and is now fully behind the use of MMJ.

Florida is ready to benefit from MMJ and it is up to the citizens to follow Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s lead. Falling victim to assumptions based on dated research and policy will only hold the state back. It is each Floridians responsibility to take a look at the research and recognize the widespread benefits that will come with the legalization of MMJ. House Bill 859 is pending deliberation and MMJ will be on Florida’s ballot vote. The time is now to shed the misconceptions and get a solid understanding of what is at stake with this ballot vote. Florida can follow the lead of Dr. Sanjay Gupta and have compassion for those who suffer ailments that can be treated by using MMJ.

Works Cited

Gupta, Sanjay. “Gupta: ‘I Am Doubling Down’ on Medical Marijuana.” CNN. Cable News Network, 06 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

Gupta, Sanjay. “Why I Changed My Mind on Weed.” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.