An appearance on the Fox & Friends morning show this week by Dr. Oz took a turn for the interesting when the famed physician suddenly launched into a quick rant on the federal government’s stance on marijuana.
Dr. Oz Advocates Medical Marijuana
It’s clear from the video that no one expected Oz to take things in that direction. Show co-host Steve Doocy looked ready to end the segment when Dr. Oz suddenly switched gears from the opioid epidemic that had just been mentioned.
“The real story is the hypocrisy around medical marijuana,” Dr. Oz said. As Doocy looked ready to move on, Oz said, “Just real quickly.”
He then said, “Medical marijuana – people think it’s a gateway drug to narcotics? It may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic. We’re not allowed to study it because it’s a Schedule I drug and I personally believe it could help.”
Doocy’s only response was, “Wow.”
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt added, “Huh.”
And that was that. Of course, allowing more study would require the federal government to remove marijuana from the illegal drug schedule in place since the 1970s.
Celebrity Pile On
As strange as it must have been for the conservative demographic that watches Fox & Friends to see someone advocate for marijuana – the president himself is a fan of the show – it really is just the latest in a series of big names coming out for medical marijuana use.
Joe Montana, the squeakiest clean NFL quarterback in the history of NFL quarterbacking, advocated for its use last month. Then Olivia Newton-John, who is battling cancer and uses marijuana herself, did the same on a recent press tour.
From a marketing standpoint for the marijuana industry, it’s all great news. People expect Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg to advocate for cannabis. But if Montana, Newton-John and Dr. Oz are for something, who can stand against it?
In the court of public opinion, those are knockout endorsements to have in your corner.
However, the real action is among the politicians. Those in California made a big push for legalization at the federal level this week.
California Challenges Washington
One of every 10 Americans live in California. It’s the nation’s biggest state by millions. It has the sixth largest economy on the planet when ranked among countries. It also is about to become the world’s largest legal marijuana market when adult-use sales begin in 2018.
Now they want the federal government to consider doing that nationwide.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1995. The Golden State was the first to legalize medical marijuana.
In a joint resolution passed by the California Assembly, the federal government is asked to reclassify marijuana “and it’s derivatives,” taking it off the Schedule I classification. That is considered the most restrictive drug classification. Other drugs on that schedule include cocaine and heroin.
The resolution notes that the current classification inhibits research into marijuana. They also point out that banks will not do business with the cannabis industry because of fear of federal penalties.
Whether it has any affect or not, California political leaders effectively threw down the gauntlet with the Trump Administration and the Republican-held Congress this week.
If the recent slate of public endorsements from high-profile celebrities is any indication, they have the public on their side.