Sanjay Gupta writes an article in Time this week entitled “Why I Would Vote No On Pot”. After stating his thesis that marijuana isn’t very good for you, he goes on:

True, there are health benefits for some patients. Several recent studies, including a new one from the Scripps Research Institute, show that THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible for the high, can help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. (In fact, it seems to block the formation of disease-causing plaques better than several mainstream drugs.)

Other studies have shown THC to be a very effective antinausea treatment for people–cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, for example–for whom conventional medications aren’t working. And medical cannabis has shown promise relieving pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.

Wow. That’s actually quite a list of accomplishments from the medical perspective. Alzeheimer’s, cancer, glaucoma and MS patients could benefit from it, but the good doctor still wants to vote “no” because the Colorado and Nevada initiatives “would legalize marijuana irrespective of any medical condition”.

Drug Policy Reformers, please note: we need to always use the word “decriminalize” instead of “legalize” when talking about the subject. Dr. Gupta has caught a classic case of “missing the point”.

Voting “No on Pot”, as Dr. Gupta calls it, means more tax dollars spent incarcerating casual marijuana users. That’s it, end of story. Neither initiative will force Dr. Gupta or anyone else to use marijuana.

And as far as ignoring the reality of imprisoning doctors and their patients for choosing to prescribe and use marijuana for legitimate medical reasons, perhaps Dr. Gupta needs to read this post about the AMA’s position on medical marijuana. Jailing and imprisoning those truly in medical need goes beyond deliberately ignoring what the decriminalization movement is about: it is simply cruel and capricious.  

  • Ohh…I was really hoping he actually smoked it. The title got me all excited.

  • yo

    really, really late post, but i just read gupta’s article and was amazed by its ignorance. ok ok smoking a substance bad for your health. Thanks for the newsflash gupta. but i’ll take on the health risks over having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, subsidizing more prisons, keeping drug dealers flush with cash, and a law enforcement with skewed incentives via drug seizure laws. This issue goes far, far beyond health.

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  • Sorry to get your hopes up there, Mobile. I’ll cop to intentionally throwing some irony into that title.

    And right on Yo! You and I are sympatico on this issue.

  • Jamie,
    Great post! I found it researching for a post of my own after Surgeon General job came out. I quoted you and linked to you in my post.
    Thanks for your great site. When I figure out how, I would like to link to it.

    Best regards,

    Don Fitch

  • Pandalicious

    No, instead of saying decriminalize we need to say legalize. Legalize, Regulate, Tax. Stop the war on drugs. Decriminalization preserves the veneer of legitimacy of prohibition and does nothing to address the massive underground drug market and its disastrous externalities.

  • Troy

    I’m curious to know what medical studies Dr Gupta has conducted on marijuana.

    Better yet, what studies has even read? Where does his knowledge of marijuana come from?

    “despite all the talk about the medical benefits of marijuana” – By “talk” I think he’s referring to the long term studies conducted on marijuana. You know the ones, he obviously hasn’t had a chance to read.

    “smoking the stuff is not going to do your health any good.” – There are numerous doctors that disagree, even the American Medical Association disagrees. You know the people that have actually done some investigation.

    In short, just like most federal puppets, he is misinformed and ignorant on the issue at hand.

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