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June 17th, 2009
07:05 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Meet "King Bong"

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, we continue our look at marijuana in America. You'll meet a pot pioneer. Some call him the "King Bong." He's made millions in his pursuit to legalize pot.

We're also taking your questions on marijuana. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta has the medical facts on whether it's good or bad for your health. You can text your questions to 94553. The message must start with the letters AC, and then a space, then your name and question. If you do not include AC first with a space, sadly we won't receive your text.

And, we'll  have the latest from Iran where another mass protest  over last week's presidential election could get underway at any moment.

Join us for all this and more starting at 10pm ET.

See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. judy

    I have starting smoking pot in 1967. After moving to FL in 1978 my use has tapered off only due to intense crackdowns by police and harsh penalties. Now I'm prescribed daily: 200 mg Zoloft, 10 mg Ambien and 6 mg valium. Please legalize pot so I and millions of other Americans can make use of its ability to allow focus, calmness, healing for pain and simply enjoyment.

    June 18, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  2. Jeff

    response to vita
    Interesting to note, most of the comments are pro, and the few con remarks you see, like vita zemantis, reflect the ignorance of the facts and the reflection of the propaganda campaign that has brain-washed the american public. People are finding out the truth, and it's only a matter of time until the truth and the facts will determine our course, rather than ignorance, and lies told to people too stupid to see the truth themselves.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  3. Dan

    Vita,

    I implore you to reread your statements. By your own admission '[It] seems like everybody is doing it already.' You are correct that there are a great number of people that use cannabis, and a great number of people in favor legalization.

    Now if one were to to try and accomplish the frightening contortion of logic that you apparently favor, and follow that to its end at the inevitable legal conclusion, by law 'everybody' would be in prison.

    Thus, people like myself think that 'everybody' in jail is a bad thing.

    As for your query regarding Tylenol, put simply and in small words, so that you'll be sure to understand, Tylenol, can kill you if used in the wrong way – Cannabis cannot.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  4. Pbytnar

    I have enjoyed smoking pot for 35 yrs now & most of the other comments are proof that the people that want to use it are already doing it !!! by making it illegal creates a black market , who would get pot from a gang banger in the hood when you can visit your local
    ' Farmacy ' & get your favorite blend. I don't want to sound repiticious,just to say all the positive points brought up are valid and true. Most people are affraid to stand up and speak the truth for fear of prosecution, I hope these times will soon come to an end. Be it medical or recreational it is time we are free to enjoy it's benefits and for our country to reap the financial benefits.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  5. FreeEnergyEngineer

    Certain molecules have fourth dimensional aspects. Hence the 'expanded consciousness' effect. I don't believe that Tylenol has a fourth dimensional component to it. People who are holier than thou over drug users are usually sex addicts.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  6. VITA ZEMAITIS

    Why legalize pot? Seems like everybody is doing it already. We willjust have more spaced out people , more accidents on the road,more confusion. Why not take Tylenol?

    June 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  7. Trevor

    The fact that some people are still choosing to use the "gateway theory" or the "stepping stone" theory is truely pathetic and ignorant. It has already been proven and theorized that if you legalize, and make it so that In order to obtain weed you have to go to a licensed dealer, who will card you 100% of the time, as their license will be hard to obtain and easy to lose.. You will find that getting it is much harder for young adults and kids, much like.. hmm... what other substance is like this...... Oh yea, Alcohol. At the age of 18 alcohol is one of the hardest substances for me to obtain. I can easily obtain coke, cigs, weed, ect.... Which one of these great choices do I choose? hmm... lets see.... Oh yea, WEEED... Because its fun, I enjoy it, I like laughing with my buddies and sitting down and trying to roll the biggest dubbee we have ever rolled, then just sitting there in our basements baked out playing video games and mowing down a record of 4 pizzas between 3 18 year olds is just plain FUN! It also helps that my best friend is a dealer of weed lmfao. What does that tell you... American Government is Moronic and this should have been open to debate 10 years ago.

    Weed is not a gateway drug, The prohibition is, Because of prohibition, This creates the black market, Mixing hard and soft drugs.. Allowing them to become easier to obtain. If you had weed sold out of shops, No one would have to go to a dealer who might be dealing weed, but also crack, coke, meth, pills, ect.

    Weed doesn't cause cancer, Its been proven, Please shut up about it.

    Weed DOESN't kill braincells... We finally found out how they conducted the test.. He pumped 30 joints in 2 minutes in a mask a monkey was wearing. They didn't lose braincells because of pot, they lost it because they suffocated the monkeys.

    (I challenge anyone to attempt to smoke 30 joints in 2 minutes... If you do it, let me know.. Id love to get that blown out and stop around 10)

    Weed is NOT addictive... Its a lie, People are gonna get addicted to T.V. or makeup, or pills... There gonna get addicted no matter what.

    Weed Is Not ABUSIVE.... You don't go around shutting down burger king because people can abuse cheeseburgers.. Or I can shove a fork in my eye should we outlaw forks? I can go jump off a bridge, Should we ban bridges? NERF THE WORLD IGNORANT ADUTLS!

    Your getting all this info from an 18 year old.. So... Hi =]

    June 18, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  8. Jock Horror

    It saddens me when people willingly choose to believe government propaganda, even though there is no supporting research or documentation, even when the propaganda is routinely a repeatedly found to be false.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  9. Patricia Hinchliff

    Next Nov. let us put it on the ballot . Let the people decide.. and not the lobby of the pharmaceutical companies.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  10. matt

    Tom,
    Your opinion is appreciated and not unusual, but lets analyze it piece by piece:

    "I think Pot should never be legalized!" Apparently you don't mind the multi-billion dollar annual expense, incarceration of millions of your fellow citizens, and all the related carnage associated with pot prohibition. You believe this should continue indefinitely even if these problems worsen permanently.

    "The fact that everyone says that its better for than tobacco products is just rediculus!" Tobacco use kills millions of people per year, pot use has killed noone. Not sure how you are unable to draw a rational conclusion about the comparison.

    "Take them off the market too!" Yes, and create more black market products, violence and profit for criminals.

    "Pot is a gate way to worst drugs"- An unprovable, subjective myth. You are correct though that it is not as bad as the other drugs you contend it leads to, whichever they are.

    "and on top of that it tarnishes the excellents of America’s reputation." Yes, we'll be ok with the waterboarding as long as we maintain prohibition of pot. HA!

    "It makes the American people look weak, that we would need such a thing!" The Amer. people look weak because they have not reacquired their right to use marijuana, and thus tolerate the tyranny of prohibition. If I think about Holland, Portugal, or any other country where people have this freedom, that is when I realize how weak the Amer. people and I am.

    "Its something that will only make us weaker!" Certainly our weakness is a consequence of 72 years of pot prohibition. Before that time alcohol was the reason the government used to manhandle the people, and marijuana was the most prescribed drug in America! I wonder how we were the strongest country on the planet to that time with all that legal pot if your view is correct.

    I hope you will consider these points, and reconsider your opposition to the restoration of this freedom Americans used to have and many other countries enjoy today. Thanks.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  11. Darrell

    Re: post by Panama on 6/17 at 10:45 pm.

    I appreciate your service to our country. You are obviously proud of your military and career accomplishments, as you should be. Aside from making the point that marijuana use has not deterred your ability to function and be productive in your life, you also bring to light another issue. Stating that you started using marijuana at the age of 11 may lend some credibility to the fact that marijuana has not incapacitated you, prohibitionists may try to use the fact that you began at such a young age as a negative to bolster their argument.

    Whatever reason a prohibitionist may incorporate to maintain the status quo, the fact that 11 year olds can easily purchase and use marijuana and other illicit drugs is a good argument toward ending prohibition. Consider that during developmental years, it is important that any substance should only be prescribed or used as a last resort. It is true that some ADHD cases are treated with cannabis preparations—primarily in foods like cookies, peanut butter, etc. It is also becoming apparent that “whole plant” use is more stable and effective than synthetic versions (such as Marinol) of THC. Those who want to dispute this notion need to eat, smoke or vaporize some marijuana and then, for sake of their own argument, swallow a THC. I will bet that will end the “there is a pill for that” argument.

    Ending marijuana prohibition is the best solution. The social conservatives like to punish the immoral marijuana user. Building prisons is one of their favorite approaches to the drugs issue. I hope that those who post with the notion that personal freedom is at stake by marijuana being illegal will look at whom they support politically. The social conservatives espouse personal liberty but are hypocritical when it comes to personal choices that are different than their own.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  12. Michele

    I think the pharmaceutical companies are the one that want to stop legalization of marijuana, cause they are the ones to stand to loose money if it's legalized. The will loose good little pill poppers to a natural form of pain relief, and we all know that even in this day of financial woes, it's the pharmaceutical companies that are still making money hand over fist, and isn't that what truly runs the country – money?

    June 18, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  13. kent

    You never heard of the cost to the public until recently that it will cost more to take care of pepole addicted to pot if we leagilize it (how much more of this will we have to put up with ) Obama, Newt ,Clinton all went on to have productive lives and the list goes on I do wonder if some of these pepole that are so anti pot I mean look at the facts family value guys cheating on their wives ,anti gays being outed ,anti pot probly closet smokers .....I guess that would be to much to ask for but just wondering

    June 18, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  14. Philo

    It's time for America to stop TALKING about Freedom, and to begin actually LIVING like we're Free. Using a non-toxic plant to wage war upon personal Freedom is about as un-American as it gets. Hemp helped give us the resources to build this great nation, and hemp will be what saves us from the threats posed to us today.

    June 18, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  15. Vic

    An interesting slant to your 10pm reporting would be the thousands or even tens of Ks of people who grow their own. Yes many grow for cash, but, many grow for personal love of the herb. They grow their own for hate of CARTELS and refuse to sell one penny's worth so they are not branded as dealers. Many grow for their love of ganja and even to help friends who have medical needs. Lots of web sites talk about this and threads exist on this subject. Congrats for taking this on. P.S. Please tell Sanjay to note than weed, unlike tobacco, has no addictive (added) properties. There are medical studies that support this.

    June 18, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  16. Larry

    The law against marijuana has killed thousands of people.
    Using marijuana has killed no one.

    Laws are to protect the people of America.
    Let's get back on track.

    June 18, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  17. charles ekstrom

    anderson keep up the good work .

    June 18, 2009 at 6:38 am |
  18. Mark

    I read these comments and most make sense. My question is : Why do almost none of the sensible arguments reach the public on TV or radio?

    Like most of us understand that it's prohibition not marijuana that causes most of the problems, to us it's a "Duh", but seemingly the commentators can't figure it out.

    “A bad law is either unconstitutional, immoral or unenforceable.” Cannabis prohibition qualifies on all three counts.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:46 am |
  19. Paliuli

    Aloha! And I wanted to comment on seeing Dr. Gupta tonight. I had hoped he might fairly make reference to the use of cannabis in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicines.

    Americans have using cannabis regularly since the 50's and any big problems with addiction would be obvious by now. It's a happy habit.

    Like any medicine, some will not be able to use it. But for those it helps, it is a godsend, even life itself. Our current laws are cruel in every respect. Legalize it now.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:30 am |
  20. Louis

    First of all wether or not marijuana is bad for you does not matter. what matters is that if i choose to use it instead of alcohol why should that be against the law it makes no sense. It should be a persons choice what they put into their own body. The millions upon millions of tobacco smokers and alcohol drinkers know that they are not good for them and they choose to still use them. Its there choice so should it be with marijuana. To argue that pot is bad its not good for you is just stupid. Almost everything is bad for you the food we eat in restaurants, the chemicals we use to clean, the Co2 emissions from cars and other sources yet no one is making those things illegal why because it makes no sense. In the end everyone will die no matter how they live there life. From the health nut to the big time tobacco smoker alcohol drinker and marijuana user. Let the people decide. Seems the government has forgotten what freedom really is.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:29 am |
  21. Paliuli

    Sadly, our own government has spent billions of our hard earned tax dollars locking us up for smoking a weed that holds the cure to cancer within it's green leaves.

    The relationship between humans and medicinal plants goes back thousands of years. Cannabis is the people's medicine chest. Don't let big business tell you otherwise. It can replace a dozen synthetic drugs without any of the bad side effects.

    Read this and remember: cannabis has a protective effect on the lungs, nerves and brain. Don't let any propagandists tell you otherwise. Our own government just took out a patent on one of the cannabinoids!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:21 am |
  22. Ray

    So when is the gov't going to outlaw sugar, coffee, soda pops, motorcycles, (all cars but especially)sports cars, airplanes, surfing because more people die from shark attacks each year than cannabis. How about football because people have ended up paralyzed so it is dangerous for us, and how about electricity because it could kill you, or what about living in New Orleans where everyone knows hurricanes are going to hit and kill people. Or how about the real drug pushers who push pills that are known to harm the organs? Or doctors who kill people every year due to human error, they kill more each year than cannabis! What about cops who kill people by mistake, or soldiers who are trained to take lives. All of this sounds absurd huh?Now you know how we who enjoy cannabis for many varied reasons feel.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:20 am |
  23. Jeff

    I smoke with doctors and lawyers on a regular basis. My gpa was also 4.0. Even durring the recession my businesses are still booming. But I'm a irresponsible lazy loser with baked brains. I'll be laughing at you people next time I light up.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:00 am |
  24. Stephanie

    Marijuana should be legalized. Americans should be able to grow for personal use, and when grown for commercial use/profit, it should be taxed and regulated. Hemp also has superior industrial uses. Lets do something to help get America out of debt, and stop interfering with personal rights.

    As far as the Iranian election, we should not become too involved. Supportive yes, but we can't mess with sovereignty; that just causes more conflict. I was hoping for the other outcome too.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:51 am |
  25. taylor

    The illegal status of marijuana has had the same result as prohibition in the 1930's of alcohol: smuggling, gang activity, illicit production inside the borders of the US, and endless work for our police force and other government agencies. The obvoius solution is to legalize it under the same regulations currently in place for alcohol. No selling to minors, no driving or coming to work under the influence, heavy sin taxes (good income for a cash starved government). No one is going to smuggle something into the country or sell it on the streets illegally if it can be purchased legally at a local liqour store, bringing an end to a LOT of crime and making our borders that much safer.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:50 am |
  26. Brandon

    At every blog I look at and every show that allows the publics comments, i see one thing. An overwhelming number of people supporting the idea of marijuana legalization. If it is so bad, why are more people not against it. The rare comments that are negative are generally a personal horror story or a absurd "fact" that was derived from some obscure, unmentioned study. If you can find the study, then you will also find that it was picked apart to support the bogus claim. Other than writing on this blog what are you, as an advocate, doing to change the laws. Get active and maybe we can finally get rid of this injustice.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:49 am |
  27. Rayvyn

    Tom,

    So you don't like something, it should be taken off the market from everyone? The gateway THEORY does not work. Waging war on a plant makes america look WEAK MINDED and silly. Spending millions to fight nature is weak. Spending millions to eradicate the hemp plant is weak. I said previously, after over twelve years, I have NEVER tried anything else. Nor would I EVER. Cant lump everyone into the category of lacking common sence. Hmmm, I don't like yellow t-shirts, they strain the eyes, I think they should be pulled from the market too.

    Noel,
    Cocain isnt a schedule 1 drug, its a schedule 2. Go figure.
    Meth-Schedule 2
    Special-K Schedule 3
    Marinol (dronabinol) 100%THC-schedule 3
    pot? schedule 1

    Pot shouldn't be scheduled at all, as for the rest, marinol is a contradiction to prohibition, and the rest should be schedule 1.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:24 am |
  28. juan pedro

    pot safe it just has some effects but they should make it leggal

    June 18, 2009 at 2:15 am |
  29. Jason

    Always nice to read an interesting debate. I am for legal cannabis, I see more benefits from it than the cons. you can have the munchies and still make a better choice for food, wasting money on viagra, when most people's sex drives go up, depression is gone, since it makes you laugh, we know laughing is good in many ways. Then the cons...Chronic use of it, being irresponsible to begin with and not researching the drug before doing it and finally cannabis isn't for everyone, if you don't like the feeling of it or risk of getting hurt or whatever than don't do it. People need to look at those issues when considering the legallization of it. That's just me and think of how much money it would bring in for the economy.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:59 am |
  30. Dea

    Being a Certified Holistic Practitioner form BC, Canada, just a word of caution,,weed can cause phycosis in those with a predisposition towards mental illness, and in youth, can set off tirs phycotic episode,,is these some bennifit, you bettcha,,should a proffessional be involved,, you bettcha ,

    June 18, 2009 at 1:56 am |
  31. Tom

    I think Pot should never be legalized! The fact that everyone says that its better for than tobacco products is just rediculus! Take them off the market too! Pot is a gate way to worst drugs, and on top of that it tarnishes the excellents of America's reputation. It makes the American people look weak, that we would need such a thing! This is completely absurd and I for one do not support this! Its something that will only make us weaker!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:56 am |
  32. noel

    Marijuana should NOT be classified as a Type 1 drug like heroin or cocaine. No one has ever died from using marijuana. People are aware of the harmful affects of alcohol and tobacco and they still choose to use. I can't wait to have that liberty without legal repercussions..........peace out

    June 18, 2009 at 1:53 am |
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