June 18th, 2009
10:15 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Suburban homes turned into drug factories

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/06/03/forbes.celebrity.list/art.angelina.jolie.gi.jpg caption="Anderson will interview Angelina Jolie today, who is in Washington D C to attend a World Refugee Day Event."]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

In Iran, supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi will turn Tehran into a sea of black today, as thousands plan to march in dark clothes mourning those killed in protests in the aftermath of presidential elections last week.

Our reporter in Tehran, Reza Sayeh, has been told by officials that CNN cannot cover these demonstrations and is only allowed to file one report out of the country today. It’s unclear if we will see him in our show tonight for this reason, but we are trying to get this story via other internet technologies and experts on Iran.

We had an exclusive interview planned with Angelina Jolie and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today. Both women are in DC and meant to attend a World Refugee Day event.

Anderson was going to interview both of them after this event. Secretary Clinton has been sidelined, though, this time not by dog eat dog politics, but rather, a tough fall she had outside the White House which caused her to break an elbow. OUCH. This means she won’t be at the event or sitting down with Anderson.

We will continue our interview with Angelina Jolie- she will have the spot light to herself and explain the plight of refugees. The situation is more urgent this year due to the global economic crisis which is reducing aid budgets. Nic Robertson will offer one snap shot from Pakistan where the refugee situation is in full crisis-mode, to accompany the interview with Mrs. Jolie.

And we have more pot coverage for you tonight. Drew Griffin couldn’t believe his eyes when he walked into a suburban home and found out it was transformed into a drug factory. On the outside, idyllic houses w/manicured lawns, fences and gardeners paid to trim the bushes. Inside, wall to wall marijuana grow houses. Wait till you catch this!

Hey, I really hope the weather is better in your neck of the woods than NYC. Given that heavy thunderstorms and tornadoes are hitting many parts of the country, though, I would guess not. Everyone grab their umbrellas, brace for the weather, and have a great day. And we’ll see you tonight at 10pet!

Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Candice-Pittsburgh, PA

    The argument that cannabis is harmful to the body (duh) is an obsolete one considering that alcohol, cigars, cigarettes, and so many prescription medications harm the body every day. I am not a pot smoker, however, I do think it should be legalized. I think there should be restrictions just as there are in alcohol. Only a certain amount should be obtainable at a time, no smoking and driving, no selling unless licensed (just as bar with a liquor license.) A former cigarette smoker, it's hard for me to believe that IT is still legal. (I've never had a tougher time quitting anything!) Legalize it and see what happens...

    and to Cindy, a neurosurgeon is a Dr. my dear...coming from someone who works for one 🙂

    June 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  2. Freedom Lover

    "Drug Factories." Come on Anderson! Let's get away from the "Reefer Madness" that everyone knows is B.S. and look at things reasonably. If anyone could grow a couple plants in their basement or outdoor garden, you would not have houses being converted into "Grow Ops" because there would not be the demand. Why not report on squatters that are taking over abandoned homes left in the wake of the credit default swap fiasco that has brought us to our economic knees? How about the people living in tents out in California? Enough with the fear mongering on pot. It's harmless, has never killed anyone as a result of its use, and is America's #1 UNTAPPED cash crop. We are fools for allowing cartels and organized crime to reap the profits. The furthering of the for-profit prisons and other police factions should not be considered a "growth industry" in America, but unfortunately that is the case. The Senators who espouse "righteous living" are showing us on a daily basis that this "moral movement" in America is a joke and one they cannot even hold themselves to. We essentially have legal thieves and pirates putting otherwise law-abiding citizens in jail and marking them for life with the scarlet "D." (Drug user.) It is nothing but class warfare. Dr. Gupta could have cited some of the studies going on in countries outside of America where the big pharma industry doesn't have a stranglehold on research. Your coverage has been limited and slanted. But, what can we expect when your sponsors are the very companies who have benefited from cannabis prohibition?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  3. Tony

    I agree with Phil Lawrence that there is alot of scare tactics being put into AC report on cannabis,,when will it be a fair and balanced report???

    June 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  4. Carol B. in MD

    Hi Penny. Sadly, there's probably many more deaths in Iran than are being reported. Also, the mj segments are interesting and it probably does help people some people medically. We have a family member who used to have a green thumb. Illegal is illegal, until it's not. Also, just wondering if there's anyone else to interview from the same organization or UNICEF or Red Cross? Unfortunately, Hepburn is deceased but there are so many intelligent, caring men and women who can give a new perspective.

    June 18, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  5. Tony

    To Cindy from GA,,,

    Do you realize how ignorant you sound,,,FDA approved drugs are killing thousands of people a year and so is Mcdonalds the way we are eating is killing Americans,and you are complaining that somebody MIGHT be harming their lungs with pot smoke,,well did you know pot can be eatin or vaporized or even used topically ,,,so I ask you Cindy now where is your anti argument!!

    Its time to stop throwing Americans in jail for smoking a joint!!

    June 18, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  6. Isabel, Brazil

    @ Sharon S

    Hi, Sharon! I live in Brazil and work for an American company. My life is divided between the two countries.

    Unfortunately on dictatorship, repression and censorship I have extensive knowledge of the facts.

    My country had 31 years of military dictatorship.
    I was born and grew up living with repression and without freedom of expression.

    During the years of military dictatorship people were killed, disappeared or arrested for being in dissonance with the military regime.

    A few years back we have the right to vote and the censorship was prohibited by the Constitution. After living many years in the repression, the people they value their freedom even that is minimal.

    June 18, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  7. Chuck Brown

    USA is a corrupt bunch of Good Old Boys intent on barging into everyones livingroom and arresting them over a relatively harmless plant.A plant that has been around since the dawn of time.Anderson I think the names you use are very missleading and part of the "Old style" of thinking.My hats off to Dr.Gupta.I was prepared to be angry with him but he stood his ground and told the truth.Where is a poll so we all can take a vote?? Will it ever happen?I am literally dying from opiate use and I c ould throw awy the oxycontin if only pot were legal.What would you rather have-booze which kills so many and disrupts so many families or pot which calms and relaxs folks so that the violence card never comes into play? Its so ridiculous that its borderline assinine.I wish I lived in a country that used at least some common sense and not let $$ dictate everything and I mean everything.Pres.bama must watch this and get something done for those of us who use pot responsibly don't have to live in fear.Fear=Stress and being sicker than a dead dog I as well as contless others need no more stress in our lives.

    June 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  8. earle,florida

    In 2001 Portugal had a "Out-of-Control" illicit drug problem,with a near epedemic health care (deaths drug related) problem regarding HIV,AID's,and crime,nearly causing the International Port Country,too make some drastic,and unthodox changes. They basically made the use of marijauna,heroine,cocaine,meth,and any other illicit drug not subject to a criminal offense (legalized the use,without criminalizing it to jail-time),with the hopes that the trial period would bring about positive changes. In 2005 Portugal did a study of the population addiction, and found statistics to show that crime had fallen,deaths from tainted exchanged needles between addicts had prevented HIV,and AID's,and that the prison population had gone down precipitously. Since 2007 the last statistics known,show that Portugal's drug problem is basically a success with reduced crime,reduced addiction,and reduced deaths from OD's,and HIV,and AID's! PS. Pot was never a big deal to them,and as a matter-of-fact ,it isn't to the rest of the world?

    June 18, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  9. Dan


    I don't even know where to begin. A neurosurgeon isn't competent enough, in your eyes, to discuss how cannabis reacts with the body as a whole? It escapes you that many of the medical marijuana patients use it for alleviation of symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, and pain management – all directly related to the brain?

    As far as it's effect on other organ systems, don't you think that all of these anti-cannabis folks would be parading the pictures of ruined lungs, etc, around, as is the case with tobacco, if it were as terribly damaging as you would have people believe?

    Dr. Gupta, being a responsible physician/scientist has to walk a fine line. As he said, there are conflicting studies. As a doctor I doubt he would advocate the use of anything that is damaging. But by that same measure, don't you think he'd be railing at its dangers, if it were as damaging as, again you and other anti-cannabis concerns, would have people believe, with the data that is currently available?

    June 18, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  10. Darrell

    To Cindy from Ga:

    Your posts are typical if the ignorance that has fueled the pro-legalization movement. The only medical "proof" or opinions you present are based on the same old tired propaganda passed on to an uneducated public over the years. I'm sure you mean well but you need to open your mind. Get educated by reading a variety of sources on the subject. A good start would be to read a book written by Mike Gray titled "Drug Crazy: How We Got Into This Mess And How We Can Get Out Of It". He is also the author of "The China Syndrome", which was made into a great movie. Your assumptions about marijuana are based on prohibitionist propaganda and upholdiing that ideology is like beating a dead horse. Look at all the other posts on this issue–you are greatly outnumbered by the proponents of legalization.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  11. Phil Lawrence

    Your stories on the marijuana issue are slanted towards the scary and sensational. Every reference is to "cartels", "pushers", "drug labs", etc.

    The core issue is whether or not people can be trusted with their own health. Right now, the goverment does not think that the PEOPLE can be trusted.

    If marijuana is legalized, then it becomes just a personal responsibility issue, and will disappear from our collective radar screens.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  12. Pot is better than Alcohol IMHO

    Legalize, educated, tax, stop drug cartels, use hemp, let people who enjoy pot more than alcohol come out of the closet,etc.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  13. Cindy is a propagandist

    Look Cindy–you don't know what you're talking about. You respond derisively to every article, parroting the same tired, unsupported propaganda. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that you would refer to a neurosurgeon as though he isn't a real doctor. After all, he didn't parrot the propaganda, but rather told the truth, as supported by non-biased scientific studies. Here is where smoking pot *might* be bad for you–unfiltered 'cigarettes'. Well guess what Cindy? Most of the folks that enjoy recreational use of Cannabis use water pipes that filter most of the contaminants, or vaporizers, the filter 100% of all potentially hazardous contaminants. The rest is history–Cannabis has been proven to be efficacious for brain AND lung tumors, cataracts, wasting and many many more medical applications.

    Your emperor wears no clothes Cindy.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  14. keith ferguson (canada)

    As a former binge drinker who was on a path to a early death I made some life style changes and with the help of occasional cannabis use I stopped my downward plunge. It's been 15 years of sober living and every day I thank God for his gift of cannabis for saving my life. Why are there so many people in positions of power who want to destroy my life for using cannabis to save it?

    June 18, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  15. Sharon S

    It is terrible Ira being ‘isolated’ by means of censorship. The international community can do something about it?


    YOUR OWN Government is doing the EXACT same thing, Obama is using censorship and he is making sure the Media over covers what makes him and his house of crooks look good, he and his house of crooks have gone so far as to deny certain news reporters and their stations their right to report on him and his hosue of crooks!!

    Also his election was NOTHING but a big scam!!! He had ACORN crooks of America bringing up dead people, disney characters to vote for him!
    So if anyone wants to discuss fraud and censorship START HERE IN OUR COUNTRY!!!

    don't throw stones if you live in a glass house!

    June 18, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  16. Mike

    Well since all these "drug factories" are growing plants, aren't they technically gardens? Also Mr. Cooper should look at the male version of Cannabis Sativa, the non-psychoactive Hemp plant. Particularly interesting he never mentions it even though he is very passionate about the environment as seen with the "Planet in Peril" series. Very nice by the way.


    June 18, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  17. kent

    Wow drug factories I expect to see filth on the floor kids in dirty play pens.... Their are a lot more of these places than you think in nice suburban homes they are what we call micro grows 1 bulb 2 plants your light bill goes up 50$ a month it can be set up in a closet turn over 12 weeks 2 to 4Lbs at 100$ a 1/4 Oz or 3500$ a Lb quick sale the stigma is gone with shows like weeds (I do wish they would stick with the suburban house wife selling pot it has gotten out of touch )the money is out there to be made and with home budgets getting tighter I think we will see a lot more of this but as time goes on we will see prices drop this country loves the race to the bottom with lower prices just ask Wallmart

    June 18, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  18. Cindy

    I hope that Mousavi and the protesters get the new election that they want. A recount would not be right seeing that a lot of the votes were probably destroyed the day of the election once it was seen that Mousavi had won. I hope the protests go off without incident also.

    Sorry to hear about Hillary fracturing her elbow. Hope she gets well soon. Too bad we can' t hear from her on the refugee crisis! I don't really care for Angelina Jolie because as with most actors/actresses they just use causes like these for photo ops to help their image and careers.

    Sorry to hear also that Coop had a little plane mishap today! I hope he minds his P and Q's today! It seems he may be having some karma issues!

    And I have to say that I thought Sanjay's pot talk last night was VERY incomplete. He told absolutely nothing that is medically proven as to how pot hurts your body. You all really need to have a real doctor on that knows about pot and not just a neurosurgeon who hasn't really studied pot on the body himself. You could tell that because he just stuck with the effects on the brain. He never went into the effects on the lungs or other organs. If you are being fair and straight down the middle on this you need to do that segment over because you all failed miserably on that one.


    June 18, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  19. Isabel, Brazil

    Good Morning, Penny!

    The day started hot! Poor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
    Poor Anderson Cooper that had not your interview. He must be frustrated. But it happens!

    It is terrible Ira being 'isolated' by means of censorship. The international community can do something about it?
    What nonsense!

    Tornados? That scares me! My land is not these things. Take care!

    I hope you get more news from Iran

    The day will be busy today! What is very good!
    A great day for the entire 360 team! 🙂

    June 18, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  20. Tony

    I just wanted to thank Dr.Gupta for speaking last night I was pleasantly suprised by his information not that I didnt already know it was basically harmless,,I am a little dissapointed though of the amount of time being spent on the subject I really thought this was going to be a long debate with alot of pepole on both sides and it looks like its turning out to be another 10 minute show,I think for the most part people 40 and under have known its practically harmless and those 50 and over are anti cause they dont have the facts ,but guess what when your show comes on AC they are in bed cant you get a better time slot for this so more people can be informed!!

    June 18, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  21. earle,florida

    News Flash: Does anyone remember Katherine Harris of Florida,when the 2000 Presidential Election between Bush #43,and Al Gore came down to a handful of votes! Florida's High Court ,and the United States Supreme Court voted, or should I say,"all ready had their minds made-up on the winner"! It was a modern day scam when Al Gore had actually won the election,but was stolen from him by the courts! But as all americans are/should be aware of today,that our out-dated voting(machine's,ballot language,hand-count,etc.) system in america ,and jerry-mandering districts has made the outcome for an election not worth voting! Only in amerca,but now we want to tell Iran that their voting system is corrupt,and we might threaten war if they don't change. Please,what's wrong with this picture,...someone help me?

    June 18, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  22. Michelle D . Fonthill. Ont

    Good Morning Penny

    Talk about break a leg or good luck on interviewing or in this case an elbow ouch is right poor Hillary ! I oolk forward to seeing Anderon interview with Angelina Jolie she is a contsant world activist for refugees .

    See you later ,stay dry and under the umbrella !
    Michelle D.

    June 18, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  23. EricTheGreatest

    Thank you for your pros and cons on the pot issue. Personally I use to be a raging alcoholic, who blacked out on a regular basis. Its been 6 years since i had a drink. I dont know if I could have done it without pot. I have turned my life around since I quit drinking and NOBODY in their right mind would prefer me to drink over me smoking and watching tv late at nite. I was a huge danger to myself and everyone around me when I drank. It sucks that pot is illegal and I dont feel comfortable telling people I smoke it, truly it's just a matter of taste. Its not for everyone! But why is enhancing my movie watching experience on my couch a cause for concern from anyone? I hate tomatoes and brussels sprouts but im not trying to get them banned! I would understand if pot had the same effect on people as say alcohol, but alcohol is so much worse! How many people haved been killed by drunk drivers? Alcohol impairs people and makes people think they can drive just fine! Pot makes you feel like not driving! Isnt this a " no brainer?"

    June 18, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  24. Monique

    Will be linking this to getinvolved blog! thanks Anderson

    June 18, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  25. Virginia Renegade

    Your headline is a misnomer. It is more accurate to say that homes are being turned into indoor gardens rather than drug factories.

    That's your story on Meth Labs – a bigger, scarier problem than people growing ganja and avoiding the international narc-trade. I see independent people taking initiative and showing ingenuity to provide for their families.

    June 18, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  26. Dianne

    Check out a great Canadian movie called Growing Op!!

    June 18, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  27. joy

    Good morning. It's incredibly sad to know that there are places in the world that don't understand the value of freedom. I do applaud those who found ways to get the word out in Iran using social neking sites. Sometimes, you have to be a bit of a renegade to get change to happen.

    June 18, 2009 at 8:54 am |