(Another) High-Profile Doctor Backs Marijuana

Published on Feb 5, 2014

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser revealed during a recent segment on the talk show ‘This Week’ that while he was initially skeptical of the arguments surrounding marijuana legalization, his opinions have since evolved.

Dr. Besser, who joined ABC News five years ago after an extensive career with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained to host George Stephanopoulos that he feels that marijuana prohibition is simply unreasonable.

“It’s just not rational that adults don’t have the choice of using marijuana, but they do for alcohol. Marijuana is less likely to be addictive, it’s less likely to cause car accidents and birth defects, it’s less likely to cause domestic violence,” said Besser.

“So how do you rationally say that it’s okay to drink alcohol, with that profile, but it’s not okay to occasionally use marijuana?"

ABC News Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas attempted to respond to Besser’s claims by citing his personal research with law enforcement agencies. “One of things they point out is that this is not your daddy’s marijuana. That the marijuana today is three times more powerful…and they are very concerned about the effect on younger people.”

Dr. Besser said that while he does have concerns about kids using marijuana, he believes regardless of whether it is legal or not, kids are going to use it. “It’s not a signal saying it’s okay for kids to smoke pot. But I know the community we live in, kids are smoking pot without this.”

Besser added that society faces similar problems with regard to alcohol, “Right now it is hard to keep alcohol out of the hands of kids…” Yet, he explains that the fear of marijuana falling into the hands of children should have no bearing on it being legal for adults.

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