Relax ban on pot, says former candidate for Surgeon General
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Friday 09 August 2013
The man who almost became the US Surgeon General has come out in favour of legalising marijuana for medical purposes.
Dr Sanjay Gupta, who is CNN’s chief medical correspondent, announced a dramatic reversal in his opposition to the drug.
“We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the US, and I apologise for my own role in that,” he wrote, explaining that he had interviewed cannabis growers, scientists and patients from around the world for a new documentary. “I hope this article and upcoming documentary will help set the record straight.”
In 2009, Dr Gupta was said to be the leading candidate for Surgeon General, and met President Barack Obama to discuss the post. Still a practising neurosurgeon at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Dr Gupta said he withdrew his name from consideration after realising he would have to surrender his practice and spend long periods away from his family. That year, he wrote an article, “Why I Would Vote No on Pot”, for Time magazine. Yet while filming his documentary, Weed, due to air on CNN this month, Dr Gupta wrote that he had come across many suffering chronic pain who had found smoking cannabis far more effective than pharmaceuticals.
His evolving views on marijuana match those of the US public, where support for legalisation has risen significantly in recent years. Gallup polls suggest around half the US population now supports marijuana legalisation, up from approximately one-third in 2005. Though the drug remains illegal at the federal level, the US government has intervened little in those states where the laws have been relaxed.
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 Dylan Moran on quitting smoking, being about as sexy as the Pope and why comedy panel programmes are 'c*ck shows'
- 5 Modern society encapsulated in five seconds
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
Iran nuclear talks: Prospect of deal with Iran pushes Saudi Arabia and Israel into an unlikely alliance
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£30,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a perso...
£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...
£55,000 - £65,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accountant with ...
£45,000 - £55,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified accountant...