June 15th, 2009
07:59 PM ET

Evening Buzz: America's High

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/02/09/health.pot.cancer/art.pot.gi.jpg caption= "Should marijuana be legalized? We'll look at both sides of the debate tonight on 360°."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

All this week we'll look at the battle over legalizing marijuana. Tonight, we focus on the medical angle,  in part through the eyes of award-winning singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge. She used medical marijuana during her battle against breast cancer.

Currently, medical marijuana is available in 13 states (we'll show which ones during the program). Do you think it should be an option nationwide? Sound off below.

We'll  also have the latest from Iran where a protest over Friday's presidential election turned deadly today. There are reports at least one person was killed while marching against the re-election of Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

They protesters are supporters of his leading opponent, moderate Mir Hossein Moussavi. They say the election was stolen from him.

Here's what makes this story so important: these are the largest anti-government protests in Iran since the revolution 30 years ago.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at the top of the hour. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Justin

    With regards to the story of the woman with bi-polar disease that smoked pot, it was on this morning. The story made it sound like her problem was with marijuana, her problem was that she was BI-POLAR! Don't make it sound like the weed almost killed her, that's rediculous. She was no more addicted to the pot than she is now to the lithium. This country needs to have an open an honest discussion about the legalization of marijuana. A drug that is less dangerous than tobacco, or alcohol, and has tremendous medical value! I've never heard of anyone getting stoned and then becoming violent, or beligerant, or going off and getting in a fight or endangering other people in any way. Usually they just sink into the couch for a while and relax! Where's the danger to society in that? Half the perscription drugs on the market and advertised on television every day have worse side effects than that!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  2. Jerry

    Absolutely legalize for the benefit of man and the economy. It's a substance of choice and readily available. Right now it consumes our legal system and our weapons against real criminals and disastrous drugs like meth and heroin. Let's get real and think clearly.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  3. Mt. Juliet Sam

    Hey Anderson,

    I feel that the doctors should be your target audience in this entire special. Get the doctors rallying for the legalization, and you have captured the public. If the citizens see that most GOVERNMENT VARIFIED PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS rally behind the legalization of marijuana, even some of the people that are against pot would change their minds.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  4. kent

    Melissa you are great keep on fighting the good fight ..............................now down to biz 8 years ago I was in a hold up shot 2 times in the chest 1 in the groin I am no punk I was a 40 year old man I kept fighting when he ran out of bullets he used the gun as a hammer thats what took me out nothing would stop spinning after they left i chewed thru the duct tape called 911 put them on hold called my boss I was at the emergency room via ambulance by 8:30 fri night no majior organs were hit the I checked out of the the next tues the exploritory surgery did the most damage left me with a 8 inch scar could not sleep Dr gave me zanex still could not sleep smoked pot slept like a baby later about 5 months went to a truck show on the way to the gate had a panic atack took a couple of hits off a joint went back no worries still have pain from cut I will not get high at work but after it is nice to sit down and relax smoke a joint and sit back I bring this up becuse pepole do not under stand the theraputic afect it has when a life altering event happens to them I hope that if some one offers to burn one with them they will not think twice just try it you will be amazed PTSD it can help

    June 16, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  5. gary

    doesn't the government work for us,why was this every inacted tobacco is a drug that has no medical use(i'm a smoker) and it's not scheduled,yet as time has shown with our government big money dictates our policy,i would like to think that i as an adult could make a choice in my life without the government making the choice for me,i can lesd troops in battle,have their lives depend on my decision ,prove to be compentent in anyway else,but how i would spend my free time to relax is limited to alchol cigerettes and abusing pills,thank god for nyquil and pseudaphed as Denis Lyrere said

    June 16, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  6. Jason

    Just legalize it, more people die because of tylenol, and asprin then by marijuana. And its a pretty good pain reliever, as well as a nausea suppressor. Though it does effect brain function it still doesn't compare to alcohol in how much damage it does to the body. So we should legalize it, tax it reasonably, and use that money to help fund education, and health care. There is no reasonable argument to keeping it illegal. Unless you want more innocent people killed and arrested

    June 16, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  7. Randy

    I do believe that Marijuana would make a huge difference in this country and world. Legalization should of been done way back in the 70s. Most of the people that have not tried it are against it because they see all the false information about it. I smoked it years ago and choose to not now but I don't have a problem with someone else wanting to smoke it. That is there right. We could put money back into the system by making it legal. The marijuana in the streets can be mixed with anything and therefore it isn't safe. Ships in many different containers even laundry soap. Mixed with other drugs to get you wanting more at times. But Marijuana on its own never gave me the addiction feeling. It was nice to have no pain and be able to have a great nights sleep.
    So legalize it. Make it 21 and over. I will keep it out of my kids hands till they are old enough.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  8. Fireweed

    I've been smoking pot for over 35 years, at times as much as one can humanly smoke. I've always worked, I've never had legal problems, I have a master's degree, a strong credit score, and at 52 years old I'm not on any prescription medications. If I drankl alcohol or did cocaine on the same levvel for this long I'd be dead, but either because of or in spite of smoking pot on that level, I'm in perfect health.

    This stuff is magical, at least it works for me, and I think it's criminal for the government to try to take something away from me that I perceive to be at least not harmful, probably beneficial, and definitely enjoyable.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:29 am |
  9. Molleigh from Tennessee

    I think we should turn away from the marijuana debate on whether it hsould be legalized or not; it'll be around for many years to come. We need to turn our attention to a much more specific topic within the controversay: recreational or medical purposes? If pot was to become legal, what jurisdictions would be placed upon it? Could everybody use it? Would it be pharmaceutical use only? These are the questions we need to pay close attetnion to. My opinion on the subject, yes, marijuana should be legal. The people that use it now, will not likely quit using it just because the gov't tells them to.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  10. Dave

    Anderson, you should wake up. It's been one big lie all along. It should have never been made illegal in the fist place. The benefits of this plant are many, the cost of keeping it illegal are incredable. Some will have problems with any substance but, why do adults face such draconian punishment for a naturally occuring plant? Why Anderson? Is it so much to ask. By the way Marinol is 95% THC sinthetic and legal? EXPLAIN..

    June 16, 2009 at 8:06 am |
  11. carol

    Everyone can write in support of marijuana all day, but what good does that do? We need to find a way to put this issue on every state ballot and let all people vote on the issue. I'm pretty sure it would pass in just about every state. One more thought...Once marijuana becomes legal in states for medicinal purposes, I believe tests should be done with people concerning its effectiveness in controlling high blood pressure. Once it can be perscribed for high blood pressure, which it obviously would help, so many people would be able to smoke legally.

    June 16, 2009 at 7:16 am |
  12. Lisa

    I have had 2 back surgeries as well as 1 GI. I have been given lots of pain killers which don't work and get me a whole lot higher than pot! I take pot instead and I am able to take care of my young son and home. I wouldn't be able to do anything on the meds! Pot continues to save me and my family everyday. It's scary to know that I could go to jail, lose my son as well as my home just because of pot!! I am NOT uneducated and to the idiot who said that you shouldn't make judgements on people just because YOU are ignorant! Child molesters run free to harm our kids and I'm the criminal? Decriminalize NOW!!!

    June 16, 2009 at 7:15 am |
  13. Kimberly

    In 1974, the Medical College of Virginia, in a study funded by The National Institute of Health found that THC the active "ingredient" in marijuana slowed or eradicated 3 types of cancerous tumors in lab. mice. A recent 2000 study in Madrid, Spain found the EXACT SAME results. This from a plant that just GROWS LIKE THAT. Nothing man made is added to it.

    Speaking of man made. Flintstone vitamins are perfectly legal and sold over the counter and recommended for children. But, how many parents have been mortified to find their child has eaten over the dosage allowed and how many of those have actually overdosed on a LEGAL substance(the added Iron is the culprit here) specially formulated for our children. Now take into account exactly how many people have overdosed because of marijuana. There is NO record of anyone ever overdosing on JUST marijuana. Scientists have been unable to give marijuana an LD50 number (which every drug has, it's how much of that drug it takes to actually overdose and kill someone) They haven't been able to give an LD50 number because they have been UNABLE to overdose lab mice even just injecting them with straight THC.

    I'm not saying that marijuana is for everyone, because like everything else in this world it isn't. There are people that for one reason or another, their system can't handle it. There are people who are allergic to it, and then there are the people who just can't handle themselves on it (sorta like the people that can drink, but can't "hold their alcohol") I'm saying it should simply be offered as a choice, a more natural way of dealing with medical issues from anxiety to cancer, to MS, to migraine headaches, and even in ADHD in children as found in more recent studies.

    It's time for the elected officials to listen to the people who put them in their positions.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:43 am |
  14. Arthur

    what is wrong with taking money from intercity gangs ! and crooked cops.the worst side effect is goin to jail . We have tried their way . How about some of that change stuff. legalize we wont go away on this one.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:33 am |
  15. joseph

    if we could bypass government receiving benefits and payoffs from the alcohol,tobacco,and pharmasudical companies to keep it illegal we might get somewhere reality check anderson marijuana its a non violent drug (unlike alcohol that keeps jails full for violent or stupid acts that i might ad keeps the law enforcement with more revenue) it helps people medically dont know of any side effects compared to all the drug commercials on tv stroke,heart failure,nausea,dizziness,blurriness...., and so on it should be legalized at least decriminalized i suffer from depression and anxiety and those who say it causes depression do not feel the way i feel and for all marijuana users we should just move to a state where we will not be locked up for marijuana use.i can go on and on with comparisons it needs to be legalized.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:32 am |
  16. ns

    pot will never be legalized because as is now(illegal) it brings in too much revenue for tobacco/alcohol/pharmecutical sales and local governments who rely on the fines, penalties and court costs gained from busting otherwise harmless individuals. But the truth is marijuana taxed by our government would be a well needed boost to the economy, free up our prisons for real criminals and can be used for clothing food medicine etc.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:08 am |
  17. Cody Underwood

    The teacher featured in one segment who stated she would smoke 7 joints a day is either lying or absolutely crazy. One cannot continue to gain a high by continually smoking pot. Once you reach a high (if you are using only pot) then you cannot get even more high. Even the most experienced pothead will tell you that they can take a few hits and feel the effects and then snuff the joint and save it for later.

    This woman's story is clearly fabricated. She also stated that she would spend $1000 on her habit. My crackhead uncle would not even spend that much on his addiction (he has since been incarcerated).

    I think this story is highly false and was only produced for CNN's benefit. I only say this because her allegations against pot has been proved false not only by those who research the effects but also by those millions of users who partake in this American pastime.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:05 am |
  18. Susan

    My son has a ten page criminal record because he was caught with FOUR OUNCES of marijuana. He was barely 21 years of age when this happened. He can't find a good-paying job and he has a college education. The government needs to reassess its policy concerning this drug. Medicinal or recreational, it seems that marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as alcohol. Let's legalize it to prevent anyone else from going to jail or getting felonies which destroy their lives.

    June 16, 2009 at 6:04 am |
  19. Kurtis

    i can't quite understand how alcohol can be legal while pot isn't. I've smoked weed 1000's of times easy, and never once have done any harm to anyone because of it. Yes i've lost possessions and fogotten things. But alcohol is way more dangerous to civilians and families.. Smoke responsibly!

    June 16, 2009 at 6:01 am |
  20. samuel

    many drugs and plants became illegal as a way to rid thsi country of minorities. bias policies have a way of coming back to do more harm than they could ever do good. the war on drugs will bankrupt this country if americans continue to be blinded by propaganda by big business.
    fine, if america wants to pay the price, don't right this wrong, and continue to be led by immature biases. at the end of the day, we will pay.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:53 am |
  21. Paul

    I am on methadone for pain in my joints and I hate it being addicted to the pills I live in MN and it sucks I have been on morphine and it almost killed me I get my pills from the VA and they hand it out like candy I think it would be a lot better on cannabis I think it would be alot better on my system sometimes it hurts alot and I have to take more pills I also take Gabapetin also for pain and I run out of pills and go through hell coming off the methadone I think that the people should think of the other people that cant handle the pills you should see all the pills I take to conter actthe other pills and the VA gives it out that is for sure

    June 16, 2009 at 5:47 am |
  22. Momma Jacqui

    Legalize marijuana! The woman who had the bad experience already had a predilection for mental illness & addiction. Marijuana was not the problem. She was. I am not in any way putting her down. I am just saying that, as with all medications, not one medication suits all people. Marijuana is safer than a huge majority of the other legal drugs.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:44 am |
  23. Marcella

    Thanks for airing this program. Next time I won't take three shots at getting heard and pre-write before I get here to do a WORD count.

    Love the way AC asks questions to get answers like why are we so judgmental about someone who can benefit from weed.


    June 16, 2009 at 5:14 am |
  24. Marcella

    It is encouraging that AC has brought this to the table and that there are so many people who know the value both to the individual and the society which could also benefit from job stimulus and tax revenue some of which could be spent on building and maintaining rehabilitation centers for people who do have addictive personality.

    After hearing Melissa Ethridge first hand, seeing the Farmacy in California, and reading the blog comments, it is clear that the time for legalization may be closer than I ever dreamed. We must continue to diligently advocate for the truth to come out in the media as while it seems so obvious to those who are educated and now we may have a government willing to listen and stop federal raids, big forces with vested interests don't want to see this happen and will continue to plant seed of fear and confusion.

    June 16, 2009 at 5:07 am |
  25. Matthew

    Obama won't be the first black president, to legalize marijuana. He's already spent over a trillion dollars while in office, why would he care about the couple billion he could save on Marijuana reform?

    While in the midst of holding together a crumbling economic empire, he is solving a poorly managed (Bush Administration) Middle East problem that isn't solvable. Not to mention Kim Jong has recently been feeling "so wonely" (Team America World Police). Legalizing Marijuana would be a internal political headache and Obama is too focused on international issues that need to be remedied before reviveing our withering economy.

    A Toni Morrison Vs. Whoopi Goldberg'esk civil war would surly ensue!

    Written while, totally baked...

    June 16, 2009 at 5:00 am |
  26. John

    Holland closed 8 prisons this year due to lack of criminals...that's not a coincidence..drunk men fight,drunk women turn easy,and drunk drivers kill-cannabis does none of those, but people get drunk and hurt others all the time and it's legal as can be..

    June 15, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  27. chris z-man

    This has been the cure -all for the world for ever ! Eating,sleeping, and sex drive! When will this country wake up and smell the cure! Did anyone ever do anything wrong smoking weed, but eat too much? The sooner the better on making it legal! Especially for the ill people. God's given green herb!

    June 15, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  28. kathy

    as a cancer patient i would like to see marijuana legalized i think it is a product that should be available to those who need it for whatever reason i have yet to see any harm in it.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  29. Krista

    As an RN that has worked for over 15 years in trauma, I can tell you that I have not had 1 victim come in from only marijuana related incidents in all of the ER's I have worked in. It's time to legalize it and use the taxes to keep the economy strong! And no, this does not make America a NARCO state! There are accidents and shootings related to alcohol and narcotics, not marijuana.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  30. zoe Voyles

    I think Marijuana should be avable to any one. My son died of AIDS cmplications abd I will regret for the rest of my life that he died one day before Marijuana was legalized. I also regret that I did not give him Marijuana to help with his appetite and his pain. His last days will haunt me forever

    June 15, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  31. Matt

    With our nation in extraordinary debt, the risks of a closely regulated, highly taxed marijuana industry would be completely negligible in comparison to how it would benefit our country. Availability would keep the violent Mexican drug cartels away from taking the time to smuggle pot across the border, our overcrowded prisons would have more room for real criminals, and a huge amount of money could be both saved and raised in the process. There ignorant right wing conservatives who group marijuana in with drugs like heroin and cocaine, claiming that it causes violence and perpetuates the use of other drugs. What many need to realize about this drug, which is much safer than alcohol or tobacco, is that every negative aspect of its use is due to the fact that it is illegal.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
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