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Dr. Gupta's Marijuana 180 and its Implications

Sanjay Gupta

Though many Doctors before him had come to the conclusion that marijuana has multiple medical benefits with more being discovered each year, none had quite the media exposure and influence as CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Once selected as President Obama’s first choice for US Surgeon General, Dr. Gupta holds significant sway in the discussion on medical marijuana. The documentary he hosted, “Weed,” explores the world of medical marijuana in the U.S. The show followed one patient in particular, Charlotte Figi. Charlotte, only 5 years old at the time of the filming, is the youngest medical marijuana patient in the U.S. Charlotte suffers from a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet’s Syndrome, which resulted in over 300 seizures a week, and on many occasions, her heart stopping. Desperate for a solution, her parents turned to medical marijuana, where a strain high in CBD content and low in THC was created that reduced the frequency of Charlotte’s Seizures. Her story, and the research on medical marijuana coming out of Israel and medical facilities throughout the world led Dr. Gupta to reverse his opinion on marijuana, declaring that it is a drug that needs to be studied to unlock more of its potential medical benefits.

Related: Dr. Sanjay Gupta to Air Marijuana Special, “Weed,” on CNN

This high profile endorsement, coming around the same time as US Attorney General Eric Holder’s call for reduced mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offenders, has put pressure on the Obama administration to examine America’s War on Drugs, in particular its stance toward Medical Marijuana. At this time, the Obama Administration has declared that the President has no plans to change the scheduling of marijuana, and restated that the administration will not go after medical marijuana patients and caregivers.

Related: Ann Arbor, Ferndale Consider Decriminalization of Marijuana

The Obama Administration failed to comment on dispensaries, but actions speak louder than words, with more than 7 dispensaries being raided in Michigan since July 30, 2013. With more than 50% of Americans in favor of legalization, the exorbitant cost of imprisoning drug offenders, success stories like Charlotte Figi’s, and high profile endorsements of Medical Marijuana like Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s, pressure is mounting on the Federal Government to shift its policy toward Marijuana.

Related: Sentencing Commission to Review Minimum Sentencing Guidelines

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