CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta (Kris Connor, Getty Images)

Sanjay Gupta: U.S. should legalize medical marijuana now

CNN's top doc says it: "We should legalize medical marijuana. We should do it nationally. And, we should do it now."

CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is back at it. The cable network’s top doc will debut his third documentary on medical marijuana, “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution,” on Sunday — a.k.a. 4/20 Eve (airs at 7 p.m. MDT, followed by docu-series “High Profits”).

And while Gupta has taken bold stances on the legitimacy of medical marijuana before, he’s about to go all in, according to an article posted today on CNN under the headline “Dr. Sanjay Gupta: It’s time for a medical marijuana revolution.”

In the piece, Gupta struggles with his own professional journalistic distance and objectivity but ultimately comes out with his boldest declaration on medical pot yet.

Journalists shouldn’t take a position. It makes sense. Objectivity is king. But, at some point, open questions do get answered. At some point, contentious issues do get resolved. At some point, common sense prevails.

So, here it is: We should legalize medical marijuana. We should do it nationally. And, we should do it now.

For any legitimate mainstream doctor to make such a declaration is monumental. Remember: Marijuana has made huge gains. As Gupta notes in today’s story: “For the first time a majority, 53%, favor its legalization, with 77% supporting it for medical purposes.” But you still don’t see mainstream medical professionals recommending marijuana as medicine all that often. They still steer clear of the issue when speaking on the record. They talk, quite correctly, about our lack of research and understanding when it comes to this mysterious weed.

Yet here’s Gupta’s predicting a revolution — and demanding change, so more children and adults can have access to this alternative medicine he believes in so strongly.

I see a revolution that is burning white hot among young people, but also shows up among the parents and grandparents in my kids’ school. A police officer I met in Michigan is part of the revolution, as are the editors of the medical journal, Neurosurgery. I see it in the faces of good parents, uprooting their lives to get medicine for their children — and in the children themselves, such as Charlotte, who went from having 300 seizures a week to just one or two a month. We know it won’t consistently have such dramatic results (or any impact at all) in others, but what medicine does?

I see this medical marijuana revolution in surprising places.

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Among my colleagues, my patients and my friends. I have even seen the revolution in my own family. A few years ago, when I told my mother I was investigating the topic for a documentary, I was met with a long pause.

“Marijuana…?” She whispered in a half questioning, half disapproving tone. She could barely even say the word and her response filled me with self-doubt. Even as a grown man, mom can still make my cheeks turn red and shatter my confidence with a single word. But just last week she suddenly stopped mid-conversation and said, “I am proud of you on the whole marijuana thing.” I waited for the other shoe to drop, but it didn’t. Instead, she added, “You probably helped a lot of people who were suffering.”

I don’t think we had ever had a conversation like that one. At that moment, I saw a revolution that can bring you to tears.