March 5th, 2014
08:33 PM ET

Sanjay Gupta 'doubling down' on medical marijuana

Editor's note: Don't miss "Weed 2: Cannabis Madness: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports," at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

(CNN) - It's been eight months since I last wrote about medical marijuana, apologizing for having not dug deeply into the beneficial effects of this plant and for writing articles dismissing its potential. I apologized for my own role in previously misleading people, and I feel very badly that people have suffered for too long, unable to obtain the legitimate medicine that may have helped them.

I have been reminded that a true and productive scientific journey involves a willingness to let go of established notions and get at the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and even it means having to say "sorry."

It is not easy to apologize and take your lumps, but this was never about me.

This scientific journey is about a growing number of patients who want the cannabis plant as a genuine medicine, not to get high.

It is about emerging science that not only shows and proves what marijuana can do for the body but provides better insights into the mechanisms of marijuana in the brain, helping us better understand a plant whose benefits have been documented for thousands of years. This journey is also about a Draconian system where politics override science and patients are caught in the middle.

Since our documentary "Weed" aired in August, I have continued to travel the world, investigating and asking tough questions about marijuana.


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Filed under: Health • Marijuana • Opinion
February 12th, 2014
01:46 PM ET

Rand Paul: Stop the NSA while we still can

Editor's note: Rand Paul is a Republican senator representing Kentucky. Matt Kibbe is president and CEO of FreedomWorks. Ken Cuccinelli is former attorney general of Virginia and a former Republican candidate for governor. Paul will be on Erin Burnett Out Front Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET .

(CNN) - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.

This is the beginning of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and defines one of the most important rights we have against a potentially tyrannical government.

Throughout history, governments have used the confiscation of private property, as well as bullying and surveillance techniques, to keep populations under control and maintain a continuous threat against those who would dare criticize them.

The explicit enshrinement of the right to be left alone is one of the crucial features that has defined America as such a unique and moral nation.

In recent years, however, this right, like so many others, has come under attack by the overzealous powers that be in Washington, eager to sacrifice liberty in the name of security, and using fear as a weapon to make us forget the importance of being free.

In 2013, the revelation that the National Security Agency was collecting and storing the metadata from the phone calls and e-mails of millions of American citizens - without any suspicion of criminal activity - served as a striking wake-up call for the country.


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Filed under: News • NSA • Opinion • Politics
September 10th, 2013
12:33 PM ET

Will Obama silence critics of his Syria policy?

Reihan Salam is a fellow at the R Street Institute, a contributing editor at National Review, and a CNN contributor.


  • Reassuring some of his critics will inevitably alienate others
  • The president's Syria policy is not interventionist enough
  • Critics want a broader military, diplomatic effort to drive Assad from power

Skepticism regarding the wisdom of President Obama's call for a U.S.-led military strike against the Assad regime comes from several different directions, and so the president will have to choose which concerns he wants to allay.

Syrian crisis: Keeping up with key developments

Reassuring some of his critics will inevitably alienate others.

For example, one critique of the president's Syria policy is that it is not interventionist enough. That is, if the U.S. attacks the Assad regime yet fails to decisively tilt the balance of power against it, it is not at all clear that such a limited U.S. intervention will deter rogue states from deploying chemical weapons in the future.

Possible Syria strike: 5 things to pay attention to today

Rather than focus on the attack itself, rogue states might instead focus on the protracted debate that preceded it, and the general war-weariness of the U.S. public. To really deter future rogue states, the argument goes, the U.S. would have to commit itself to regime change.

CNN Poll: Part of Syria strike opposition is the messenger's fault

Hawkish critics will want President Obama to make the case for a broader military and diplomatic effort to drive Bashar al-Assad from power and to foster a moderate-led opposition coalition that can fill the post-Assad security vacuum. Arizona Sen. John McCain, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton fall into this camp, as do leading conservative intellectuals like Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard. But while this hawkish critique has a number of articulate spokesmen, it is not particularly popular in the wider public.

The president could thus go in a completely different direction and insist that (a) he envisions a limited aerial campaign designed only to degrade, not eliminate, the Assad regime's ability to deploy chemical weapons and (b) he intends to limit U.S. exposure to the fallout from Syria's humanitarian crisis, which is sending hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring countries, and growing numbers as far afield as Australia.

A stunning turn that could silence Syria war drums

All indications are that President Obama intends to go the latter route. The problem, however, is that if the Assad regime survives such a limited strike, as seems plausible, it's not clear that the strike will have done more good than harm.

If the Assad regime does indeed hand over its stockpile of chemical weapons to an international body, it won't just have averted a U.S.-led military strike. It will also have reinforced perceptions of its legitimacy as Syria's sovereign power, an outcome that will greatly undermine Syria's opposition forces.

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Filed under: Opinion • Syria
April 5th, 2013
10:29 PM ET

Diane von Furstenberg: My mission is to empower women

For many women outside of the U.S., danger lurks at every turn. One in three women in her lifetime will be beaten, raped, abused. It's a stunning statistic.

The women who dare defy the laws of their land to try to help other women are often targets of unimaginable violence.
Despite this, many continue to fight.

Diane von Furstenberg honors two women at the fourth annual DVF Awards and came OutFront with Erin Burnett. FULL POST

Filed under: Neat Guest • Opinion
NRA's enemies list: Who's left in America that wouldn't be on the list?
February 6th, 2013
02:55 PM ET

NRA's enemies list: Who's left in America that wouldn't be on the list?

The NRA has a list of "National Organizations with Anti-Gun Policies" on its website.  In his latest column for CNN.com, John Avlon discusses how the list of enemies illustrates the organization's divisiveness and isolation and how it will ultimately backfire.

John Avlon is also a CNN contributor and member of the OutFront political strike team. FULL POST

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Filed under: Gun Control • Opinion
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