For the first time in U.S. history, most Americans are in favor of the legalization of marijuana. And according to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, it is time to legalize medical marijuana across the nation, as a revolution is underway.
Gupta, who is the chief medical correspondent for CNN, was previously opposed to the legalization of marijuana. But, in an opinion piece for the news network, he has offered a whole new perspective.
“I see a revolution in the attitudes of everyday Americans,” said Gupta. “For the first time a majority, 53 percent, favor its legalization, with 77 percent supporting it for medical purposes,” he noted, quoting Pew Research Center polls.
Gupta highlighted that this marijuana revolution can be seen in public opinions in newspapers and state ballots, scientists who are no longer afraid of delving into the world of the plant’s possibilities, and in politicians who would once “play it safe,” but who are now “willing to stake their political futures on it.”
Even the Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has cited data showing how helpful medical marijuana can be, Gupta noted.
Adding that public opinion is changing, not only among parents and grandparents, but in children – some of whom are like Charlotte, “who went from having 300 seizures a week to just one or two a month.”
Gupta also pointed out that just in the past few years alone, support for the legalization of marijuana has gone up 11 points.
This reflects a whole different viewpoint than back in 1969, when the Pew first asked the nation the question and only 12 percent of the population was in favor of its legalization.
Gupta shared that he’s even witnessed the revolution in his own family, with his mother telling him how proud she is of his fight for marijuana’s legalization as “You probably helped a lot of people who were suffering.”
CNN will be releasing the third installment of their marijuana documentary series, Weed 3, which will air on the network on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.
According to Gupta, since the first documentary came out in 2013, reactions about marijuana have radically changed.
“Just two years later, in Weed 3, we are eyewitnesses to a revolution in full swing,” Gupta noted. “You will ride along with us for the dawn of the first federally approved clinical study on the use of marijuana for PTSD.”
“They are the remarkable and surprising faces of this revolution — smart, successful and suffering — unwilling to accept the fact that commonly prescribed medications often used to treat PTSD can be worse than the underlying disorder itself.”
“This time around,” Gupta continued, “You will hear from the heads of government agencies earnestly sharing their point of view, both Democratic and Republican senators, and even the president of the United States. This is what a revolution looks like.”
He also pointed out that marijuana’s medical use can help thousands of people suffering from various diseases and illnesses.
“There is now promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands children and adults, including treatment for cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, to name a few,” Gupta said. “With regard to pain alone, marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, which are the greatest cause of preventable death in this country.”
Stating that it’s time for Americans to look at the data, and talk to patients, Gupta reflected that he is positive that they will come to the “common sense” solution he has — “We should legalize medical marijuana. We should do it nationally. And, we should do it now.”
[Image: Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images/Abir Sultan/EPA]