The White House refused to comment Tuesday on Sanjay Gupta's vocal support of medical marijuana, continuing a pattern of ignoring the issue.
During a press briefing, CQ-Roll Call reporter Steve Dennis asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest if President Barack Obama had any reaction to Gupta's recent advocacy in favor of medical marijuana. Dennis noted that Obama had once considered appointing Gupta as surgeon general of the United States.
"I have to confess, I did not see the Sanjay Gupta column that you're referring to, so it is hard for me to comment on it at this point," Earnest responded.
In an August 8 column, Gupta apologized for previously dismissing medical marijuana. The CNN chief medical correspondent and neurosurgeon said he had done a poor job of reviewing the scientific literature on medical marijuana.
"We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that," Gupta wrote.
In 2012, Obama ignored a barrage of questions about marijuana legalization during his “Your Interview With the President” event, despite the fact that it was the most popular question asked. During an "Ask Obama” Twitter town hall event in 2011, marijuana legalization was one of the most popular questions but was ignored.
Some former directors of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are afraid that Obama is abandoning the war on drugs, but drug law reform advocates have described Obama as worse than Bush.” More than 200 medical marijuana facilities have been raided since Obama took office, even though they are legal under state laws.
"The Barack Obama of the 2008 campaign trail didn't seem afraid to address this issue and proclaim that he'd put a stop to federal interference with state marijuana laws, so one wonders why he's so reluctant to actually follow through on that pledge, especially now that he's in his second term," Tom Angell, co-founder of the pro-legalization website Marijuana Majority, told Raw Story.
"The polling clearly demonstrates that voters want this administration to give states a chance to implement their forward-thinking marijuana laws, and there are virtually no serious voices clamoring for a continued crackdown," he added. "The only reasonable explanation for the ongoing harassment is that the president and his closest advisors are simply not paying attention to the actions of his federal agencies in the midst of this emerging national debate."
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