Today CNN's chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, came out and said that he has been wrong about medical marijuana. In part because the federal government has been lying about marijuana's supposed dangers and lack of benefits.
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."
They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.
Hey, better late than never, Dr. Gupta.
Twenty states already have legalized medical marijuana. Two states have made it legal for all adults. (See this map.) Obviously citizens have managed to learn the truth about marijuana well before a lot of "leaders" who should be better informed.
This is annoyingly common these days. Ordinary people have better sense than the politicians they send off to Washington, D.C. to represent them.
Like Gupta says, it is crazy that marijuana still is classified in the Most Dangerous Drug category. It also is crazy that virtually every Republican in Congress doesn't accept the scientific facts about global warming. Truthiness has replaced truth in many political circles.
Fortunately, the times seem to be a'changing. Bill Maher calls marijiuana the new gay marriage.
"By that, I mean it's the next obvious civil rights issue that needs to fall," he says, before explaining that marijuana advocates must take a page from marriage equality activists and make Mary Jane popular. "Gays simply demanded it" he says. "They didn't care that it wasn't popular. They put it on the agenda and they made it popular."
I'm hoping that Oregon will get its act together and legalize marijiuana in 2014. The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act folks have a great chance of succeeding, in part because an initiative to legalize gay marriage almost certainly will be on the ballot.
The 2012 marijuana legalization effort was horribly organized. Yet 46% of Oregonians still voted "yes." With fresh leadership Oregon could become the third state to legalize marijuana, after Colorado and Washingtonl
Next year lots of Oregonians will be crossing the Columbia to buy pot legally in Washington state.
Voters need to be told that this money could be staying in Oregon rather than enriching Washington's tax coffers. And that marijuana is a much safer recreational drug than alcohol, with hugely fewer detrimental effects.