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Well-Respected Medical Correspondent Reverses Position On Medical Marijuana

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Embracing medical marijuana. One of the most high-profile doctors in the nation reverses his position on the controversial treatment.

CBS and CNN correspondent--Dr. Sanjay Gupta--is speaking out about the switch.

Kai Jackson explains how it could impact the issue here in Maryland.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a well-respected medical expert. Supporters and critics alike will likely watch to see just how much weight his new position carries.

The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been controversial for years. Supporters often argue it's the only alternative for those suffering in pain from a variety of ailments.

In 2013, Maryland passed a law legalizing medical marijuana.

"I feel like it will cut down on some of my pain that I stay in," a woman said.

Critics dismiss usage as having a placebo effect or question whether the intent is recreational in nature.

"I think we've been terribly and systematically misled," Gupta said.

Now CNN's chief medical correspondent has made an about face on medical marijuana. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who'd been highly critical that there was no science to support usage, now believes there is.

"The science is there. This isn't anecdotal, this isn't in the realm of conjecture anymore," said Gupta. "I mean, for a long time we've just ignored these papers. But this was a drug that was used for thousands of years."

Medical marijuana is used by those who are terminally ill, those suffering from cancer, even people like Marylander Montel Williams--who has multiple sclerosis and has testified before the legislature in support of medical marijuana.

Washington, D.C. recently approved medical marijuana and opened its first clinic.

A Baltimore attorney is pleased to see Gupta's reversal.

"Marijuana is not a dangerous drug. It does not make people aggressive. It's not addictive. And frankly, it does have medical applications," said Brian Thompson, attorney.

Gupta says he's working on a new documentary called "Weed." He says he's traveled the world and has talked with some of the foremost experts who are doing research in medical marijuana.

Maryland's medical marijuana goes into effect in October. The state is still trying to determine how marijuana will be dispensed.

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