“Why I Changed My Mind on Weed,” was the name of a report he wrote online, saying that marijuana “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.” His report prompted a documentary, aptly named “Weed,” that ran on CNN.
Gupta’s new report is in stark contrast to an earlier piece he wrote in 2009 in Time magazine, entitled, “Why I Would Vote No on Pot.”
However, there are still a number of well respected experts who remain against legalization, such as Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She told USA Today the debate should not focus on whether it is less harmful than alcohol or nicotine; we should be debating the harm associated with legalizing another drug. “If you look at the data … the costs associated with drugs in our country, which are gigantic, are driven mostly by legal drugs because they’re so accessible. (The legalization of marijuana) will immediately increase the adverse affects,” she said.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not assessed or approved the drug or its chemical contents, a requirement for all medicines used in the United States, this makes medical marijuana misleading, according to Volkow. She believes that our concern should center around the harm that the drug can have on teenagers and their brain development. Legalizing the drug may allow for easier access to the drug and teens may consider it less harmful or dangerous.
Those in the field of addiction treatment are also against Gupta’s new report. Some hold that his support of medical marijuana, and legalization, “definitely make the work we do more difficult. I don’t think you could say just because one drug is legal something else should be legal. If it does become legalized though, there should at least be an age limit”, says Jamison Monroe, founder and CEO a treatment center for adolescents located in Southern California.