Surgeon General-To-Be Votes No on Pot, Will Wear Epaulets

CNN resident neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta (who's going to look snazzy in those surgeon general's whites—see the fabulous ensemble on our last surgeon general at right) has some deep thoughts about marijuana over at Time.

Maybe it's because I was born a couple of months after Woodstock and wasn't around when marijuana was as common as iPods are today, but I'm constantly amazed that after all these years—and all the wars on drugs and all the public-service announcements—nearly 15 million Americans still use marijuana at least once a month.

Therefore, as the title of the article so succinctly put it "I Would Vote No on Pot."

To review: I'm not a boomer. Also, I'm an overacheiver who was never the kind of guy who got handed a joint at parties. I've noticed that an awful lot of people smoke pot recreationally, millions and millions of them on a regular basis without apparent civic collapse, but that always strikes me as totally weird, man. Therefore, pot should be illegal.

"As a doctor,"* Gupta wants us to know that "marijuana isn't really very good for you." Though Time is a "news magazine," this isn't what you'd call breaking news. Pot will not always cure what ails ya, and it's not a substitute for a Flinstones chewable vitamin. However, as Gupta so astutely notes, most people who want to decriminalize possession of small amounts of weed don't have glaucoma or cancer or Alzheimer's or any of the many disease marijuana helps with, they "just want to get stoned legally." And short of noting that a lot of smoking isn't going to work wonders on your short term memory, and that driving while blitzed isn't a stellar idea, Gupta fails to offer much of a case against a little gentle legalization.

Maybe this is really all about the uniform. Nothing worse than some joker spilling bong water on your white pants at a ribbon cutting ceremony, right?

*A modest proposal: Every time Gupta says "As a doctor," he has to put a quarter in a jar. If we impose that fine retroactively, his debt is going to come to about $1,467,032.75, because he works that phrase pretty hard in his CNN gig.

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  • ||

    I'm pretty sure pot is more common than I-Pods.

  • sage||

    Caption Contest!

    "Love/Exciting and New/Come Aboard/We're Expecting Youuuuuuuuuuuu...."

  • ||

    I want Sanjay to get glaucoma, cancer, and Alzheimer's. Tomorrow. Then ask him again.

  • ||

    MEET THE NEW BOSS...
    SAME AS THE OLD BOSS

  • ||

    Shorter translation: I have no problem throwing people in jail for something I have no personal interest in doing.

  • kinnath||

    "As a doctor,"* Gupta wants us to know that "marijuana fill-in-the-blank isn't really very good for you."

    Grilled rat and cerveza . . . . what a future.

  • SpongePaul||

    So the only reason he is against legalazation is the health problems the major one being smoking. well the short term memory and such are mionor and reversed if you stop. so it is down to smoking. has he ever heard of vaps, budder, honey oil extraction, as other non smoked ways to get the canabanoids into your body. So then he should support legalazation, if we can just let him know about the false propaganda from dea, and that ya don't have to smoke it, only university kids smoke, lol the pros use a vap and cook with it!

  • oat willie||

    I just want to live my life, without some pinch faced prig testing my urine for metabolytes of past responsible use of cannabis or getting thrown in jail for possession of a plant over a certain amount.

    I don't need the government's permission to responsibly use cannabis, but it would be nice if they would wake up and smell the chronic and end the war on some drugs.

  • Orange Line Special||

    Potheads shouldn't let other potheads try to ask the president-elect a question.

    If Reason were interested in actually doing something besides whining, they would have thought up a difficult question about this issue for BHO and then encouraged their readers to vote it up and worked with other organizations to do the same.

    With enough work, it would have either been answered, or BHO would have looked bad by not answering it.

    Instead, Reason wasn't even interested in submitting a single question.

    The only time I saw an actual copy of their magazine was in a chintzy glass repair place. I'm going to go there and encourage him to cancel his subscription.

  • sage||

    Drink!

  • Reinmoose||

    I don't get it. I really don't.

  • ||

    He's not gonna be my doctor!

    If anything it looks like the Obama administration is going to re-up the war on pot. Nothing worse than knowing that someone out there is getting high and watching Soprano's re-runs instead of serving his agenda and loving the government!

  • Oz||

    See, Kinnath knows whats up, I'm telling you Demolition Man calls it almost perfectly.

  • Special Agent Don||

    Obama "harshing your buzz" yet dopertarians?

  • heh2k||

    They both want to be responsible grown-ups and "set a good example", folks. That's why they pretend that smoking while driving thru school zones is the only way it can be used. Simply, they're bald faced liars who are too afraid to challenge the status quot. "Change" is a scam (as anyone intelligent knew before the election).

    btw, did anyone see Larry King, Gupta, and "Dr." Phil last night, about the plane crash? King is so out of it, he didn't know what hypothermia was and then asked if you can get it on land. Oh, and everybody's a default hero whenever something bad happens. Cable news people are a special kind of stupid.

  • ||

    BTW, what moron would buy a diet book from Dr. Phil?

  • ||

    WTF is it with surgeon generals and uniforms? Are they so stupid they think they're going to have a staff comprised of surgeon colonels and surgeon captains?

  • Invisible Finger||

    "As a doctor,"...

    What's the difference between God and a doctor?

    God doesn't think he's a doctor.

  • ||

    Brandybuck... Wikipedia is your friend:

    "The Surgeon General is a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and by law holds the rank of vice admiral [1]. Officers of the PHSCC and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps (NOAA Corps) are classified as non-combatants, but can be subjected to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the Geneva Conventions when designated by the Commander-in-Chief as a military force. Officer members of these services wear uniforms that are similar to those worn by the U.S. Navy, except that the commissioning devices, buttons, and insignia are unique. Officers in PHS and NOAA wear unique devices which are similar to U.S. Navy Staff Corps Officers (e.g., Navy Medical Service Corps, Supply Corps, etc)."

  • Rationalitate||

    I've got my own rebuttal of Gupta's article for Time here, where I point out all his factual errors. And there are a lot of them.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...what moron would buy a diet book from Dr. Phil?

    A fat one.

  • Paul||

    As an underacheiver...

  • ||

    Maybe Sanjay should go find a logician lieutenant to explain to him why his views are so stupid.

  • ||

    Don't sell yourself short, Paul.

  • Paul||

    So, you guys are trying to tell me that this guy is the new Surgeon General? The horror.

  • Scott66||

    "I Would Vote No on Pot."

    I agree 100% with the good Doctor.

    Oh look, it's 5:30. Time to go get drunk. Have a good weekend everyone.

  • ||

    He was born a couple f months after woodstock?
    Damn, that guy has aged horribly. He looks about 60.

  • Elemenope||

    What an asshole.

    Then again, the last time a surgeon general said peep about pot, they lost their job. Out of curiosity, is it one of the positions that requires confirmation?

  • ||

    Joe, your asshole is appointing a lot of assholes. How do you feel about that?

  • ||

    Katherine-

    Is it safe to assume that your use of the word "blitzed" was not meant to conflate intoxication with being high?

    Why not expose Gupta for the quack he is? Particularly on the driving while stoned issue. Too many friends of freedom cower to the politically correct reefer madness orthodoxy by adding the disclaimer, "of course, it is dangerous to drive while toking" to their legalization/decriminalization arguments. Rationalitate is right.

    Moreover, my own personal experience is the only evidence I need to settle the question. Twenty four years of evidence. How many separate incidents? Literally over 5,000 times. That evidence is superior to any "study"-here that "science" worshippers!

  • Orange Line Special||

    No, Wikipedia is not your friend. In fact, they're simply a disinfo source, as my problems getting facts to stick on a *talk* page show.

  • ||

    Could this guy be a bigger dork? He seems truly surprised that public service announcements haven't rid the country of weed smokers. I shudder to think of the music he has on his Ipod.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Could this guy be a bigger dork?



    Well, he could be Anderson Cooper.

  • ||

    Honestly, what did you guys expect? It sucks, but why would he waste political capital on something that will get him bitched out in return and nothing more?

  • ||

    Forgot to add,

    16 years ago Clinton couldn't even admit he inhaled, and now Barack admits he's tried coke and no one cares. Next Democratic president will be an ex-meth lab operator.

  • zoltan||

    Our economy would be better if more people were buying pot than iPods. Plus, people wouldn't be elitist douchebags who say, "Oh look at my new terabyte iPod. Oh, your's only has 750GB? Pathetic." People wouldn't do that on pot...mainly because they would be high.

  • ||

    Zoltan is high right now.

  • zoltan||

    I wish, Booyah, I wish. I'm working the overnight shift tonight and a little pick-me-up would not be unwarranted.

  • Elemenope||

    No, Wikipedia is not your friend. In fact, they're simply a disinfo source, as my problems getting facts to stick on a *talk* page show.

    When you have real friends, it becomes unnecessary to depend upon online encyclopedias as a substitute.

  • Paul||

    Next Democratic president will be an ex-meth lab operator.

    Being reformed, he'll (she'll?!) declare an increased effort to expand the drug war.

  • Ironic||

    If everyone under him has a navy rank why is he not an admiral????? And his uniform looks more like a navy uniform????

  • ||

    "Next Democratic president will be an ex-meth lab operator.

    Being reformed, he'll (she'll?!) declare an increased effort to expand the drug war."

    Paul, does this mean you like Sarah Palin for 2012?

  • ||

    Ironic, "general" refers to his purview, not his rank.

  • Mark Entry||

    Dr. Gupta, Please, do some research. Get a vaporizer and some low grade NIDA cannabis. You'll find out that what you don't know about cannabis will fill volumes. It really surprises me that coming from an Indian lineage you don't know about this subject. How can you be an authority without truly researching the subject? 208,291 people voted in the TIME POLL and 87.3% favored the legalization of marijuana/cannabis. 3% favored medical marijuana only. This means that you favor what only 9.7% of Americans want, the continue cannabis prohibition. You are supposed to represent all the people and 90.3% can't all be wrong. http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101021104/ Good Luck on the job. But, change your mind & join the masses.

  • duster||

    I shudder to think of the music he has on his Ipod

    Ted Nugent, perhaps?

  • ||

    He probably listens to a bunch of safe indie rock, Michael Buble and other music in kin.

  • zoltan||

    Like Snow Patrol.

  • gmatts||

    "CNN resident neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta (who's going to look snazzy in those surgeon general's whites-"

    If Gupta does indeed don the whites, Obama should respond to any question Gupta asks of him with "Ask me nicely." and then proceed to say, in a Nicholson voice, "You come to the White House, in your faggity white uniform..."

  • TallDave||

    Maybe it's because I was born a couple of months after Woodstock and wasn't around when marijuana was as common as iPods are today,

    What a magical time.

    Actually, I would bet they are roughly as common today. 15 million is the number who admit to something that can get you thrown in jail most places -- and THC makes you more risk-averse.

  • ||

    Bingo Zoltan, bingo. The sort of shit that NPR would review.

  • Elemenope||

    15 million is the number who admit to something that can get you thrown in jail most places -- and THC makes you more risk-averse.

    That's an interesting point...though from what I understand (and have observed ;)), the effects of the THC cease with the completion of body metabolism of the drug, and I seriously doubt a signficant percentage of those surveyed were *high at the time they were being interviewed*! :)

  • ||

    great, a merck shill/documented liar/talking empty head as our surgeon general! so he has the rank of vice admiral by law, huh? well, if i ever go to meet him, i'll have my full admiral uniform on. no, not u.s. navy, starfleet! should be a great photo-op.

  • nobody u no and big fan of joe||

    this doctor sounds like those christians who deny others healthcare from the earlier ronald bailey article.

    someone needs to inform obama.

  • green mamba||

    This guy is my age? He looks at least 47.

  • ||

    Tell the good doctor that I'm currently receiving a 52 hour infusion of chemo e/o week for colon cancer.
    Pot is the only "drug" that helps with,nausea,sleeping,eating and just moving around. Stay out of the "pot debate" Sanjay.

  • ||

    Gupta is a drug war hack from way back. He was one of the first ones on the bandwagon to ban ephedra. Anyone who thinks that Sanjay Gupta will conduct a fact-based review of the evidence concerning weed or any other drug, or will in any way support an easing of the war on drugs, is being delusional.

  • ed||

    Every time Gupta says "As a doctor," he has to put a quarter in a jar

    If Nancy Pelosi did the same with "As a mother and a grandmother," we'd be well on our way to repaying Obama's Enormous Package.

  • Ska||

    Caption:

    Now, when playing Rear Admiral, you can't steer with your hands, however you can use them for balance like so. And don't forget to make engine sounds!

  • ||

    Every time Gupta says "As a doctor," he has to put a quarter in a jar. If we impose that fine retroactively, his debt is going to come to about $1,467,032.75, because he works that phrase pretty hard in his CNN gig.

    When you use shoddy facts and poor grasp of logic, argument from authority becomes that much more important.

  • Robert||

    OK, Star Fleet full admiral, you outrank him -- but only in outer space.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    As a non-doctor, I would warn Gupta of the health risks of having one's head up one's ass.

  • oat willie||

    "He probably listens to a bunch of safe indie rock, Michael Buble and other music in kin."

    Micheal Bolton too.

    I keep waiting for him to put his little finger to the corner of his mouth, like Dr. Evil.

  • ||

    Every time Gupta says "As a doctor," he has to put a quarter in a jar.

    In my experience, the ones who proclaim their credentials the loudest are the ones who barely squeaked through.

  • Joshua Holmes||

    A young boy clutching a paper bag sat next to a middle-aged man on a park bench. The boy opened up the bag and pulled out a candy bar. He ate it, savoring every bite. The middle-aged man let a smile creep across his face.

    After finishing, the boy reached into the bag and pulled out a second candy bar. A look of consternation crossed the man's face. To his astonishment, the boy ate a second candy bar. Then a third. A fourth. A fifth.

    Finally, the boy pulled out a sixth candy bar, and the man couldn't bear it any longer. "Son," he said, "I don't think eating six candy bars is good for your health."

    "My great-granddad lived to a hundred and six," the boy replied.

    A smirk covered the man's face. "And did he eat six candy bars one after another?"

    "I don't know," said the boy, "but I do know he minded his own fucking business."

  • ||

    A modest proposal: Every time Gupta says "As a doctor," he has to put a quarter in a jar.

    Unless he precedes it with "Dammit, Jim".

  • tigre||

    You know what's worse for you than marijuana?


    Prison.

  • ||

    the issue isn't that pot isn't healthy. of course it isn't. so frigging what? the issue is that CRIMINALIZING pot is far less healthy for the nation than decrim'ing it.

    too many advocates of legalization (note: i am an advocate for legalization) try to make pot sound like wheatgrass with a side effect.

    one can be an advocate of decrim/legalization without being a 'fan' of mj. personally, i think it's "hella lame", but that doesn't mean it should be illegal. fat people in spandex are also hella lame, but that shouldn't be illegal (just shunned and ridiculed).

    i'm sorry to hear that gupta was on the ephedra hysteria bandwagon. and fwiw, ephedra was never banned, only it's marketing/sale AS a dietary supplement. just being precise here. it was never a controlled substance nor was it ever illegal to possess or use.


    it's not benign, but who frigging cares? it's pretty frigging safe, has no LD50 whatsoever, is not frigging addictive, and literally millions of people lead productive lives while using it.

  • ||

    "208,291 people voted in the TIME POLL and 87.3% favored the legalization of marijuana/cannabis. 3% favored medical marijuana only. This means that you favor what only 9.7% of Americans want, the continue cannabis prohibition. You are supposed to represent all the people and 90.3% can't all be wrong"

    please spare me this laughable unscientific poll.

    about the best proxy we have for acceptance/dismissal of legalized marijuana is voting records.

    it couldn't get approved in frigging NEVADA for pete's sake. there is no way 90% of the electorate (at least), supports legalization (87/3). *if* that was the case, clearly we would have numerous ballot initiatives in any # of states that would have passed already.

    i was hoping nevada WOULD pass legalized mj, but it didn't happen even there.

  • Craig||

    If he's called the "surgeon general", why does the uniform make him look like the "surgeon admiral", or "surgeon Love Boat captain"?

  • Joshua Holmes||

    If he's called the "surgeon general", why does the uniform make him look like the "surgeon admiral", or "surgeon Love Boat captain"?

    I think the phrase is styled in a French manner, where the adjective comes after the noun. That is, he's not a general who performs surgery, but a surgeon with general authority. Likewise, the attorney general (who's not a general) and the governor-general in Commonwealth realms (who's also not a general).

  • ericperry123||

    For me, I highly recommend Sanjay Gupta to join the volunteer medical missions for his expertise.

  • ||

    Dr. Gupta, I sincerely hope you read this. You are missing one very important piece of information. Marijuana/cannabis is everywhere. It's not like anyone can wave a magic wand & put the Genie back in the bottle. Failure to regulate cannabis via legalization means only one thing. Organized crime will continue to control it. They are thriving while we continue to abdicate from our responsibilty to control cannabis. We need to regulate cannabis just like we do alcohol & tobacco. There's a general misunderstanding that we can successfully impact cannabis use any other way. We are the #1 prison nation on Earth due to our attempt to arrest & convict our way out of prohibition. Prohibition created the demand which created the drug cartels. It's too late to say, "I'm not in favor of it". It's here, and here to stay. Now is the time to face this reality. We just can't go on doing the same old failed things the same old failed ways and expect a different outcome. Everyday we delay legalization the drug cartels get stronger, wealthier, more corrupting, and deadlier. End cannabis prohibiton, do it for the children.

  • James Davis||

    I believe (know) the war on drugs has been lost. That being said, I a firm anti drug advocate. I know pot will be legalized one day without question. Will that make us a better society? will it make us better people? If it is a persons right to use drugs, is it not my right not to support him in his beliefs? They may use it but if it impairs there judgement, it is my right not to have to hire them as my employees.

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