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Dr. Oz Says Medical Marijuana Could Help Solve Opioid Addiction

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Opponents of legalizing marijuana have long claimed that it is a “gateway drug” that leads to use of other substances. But one of the country’s most famous physicians says the opposite might be true.

“The real story is the hypocrisy around medical marijuana,” Mehmet Oz — better known as Dr. Oz — said in an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday morning. “People think it’s a gateway drug to narcotics. It may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic.”

Oz also criticized marijuana’s current status under federal law.

“We’re not allowed to study it because it’s a Schedule I drug, and I personally believe it could help,” the physician, TV host and author said.

Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy simply responded, “Wow.”

The Controlled Substance Act’s Schedule I — the most restrictive category — is supposed to be reserved for drugs with no medical value and a high potential for abuse. Researchers have long complained that marijuana’s classification there creates additional hurdles that don’t exist for studies on other substances.

Heroin and LSD are also in Schedule I alongside cannabis, yet cocaine and methamphetamine are classified in the less restrictive Schedule II category.

California lawmakers passed a joint resolution last week officially urging the federal government to reschedule marijuana.

Also last week, while introducing legislation to remove hurdles to marijuana research, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) suggested the possibility that cannabis could be an alternative to opioids.

A growing body of research suggests that legal marijuana access is associated with reduced opioid addiction and overdose rates.

Oz has previously spoken about medical marijuana’s potential as a safer alternative to opioids.

This story was first published by Forbes.

Photo courtesy of Senator Claire McCaskill’s office.

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Culture

Bill Nye Likes Legalization, But Not Marijuana

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The Science Guy is down with legalizing marijuana, but he doesn’t consume cannabis himself.

“I lived in Washington State for a long time, and Washington State legalized it in 2012. We legalized marijuana, we tax it,” Bill Nye said in a interview published this week by NowThis. “We have a lot of tax revenue. It’s no longer criminalized. We don’t spend money on the police department. We spend money regulating the industry in the same way we regulate other substances.”

But even though he recognizes legalization’s benefits, don’t mistake Nye for a cannabis connoisseur.

“I don’t like the smell. I just don’t like it,” he said. “One time in college I tried it, and I’m not good at smoking. I didn’t put in the hours to get good at smoking.”

In Nye’s eyes, marijuana use can have negative effects.

“When I played ultimate frisbee very seriously, these guys I would play with would get high and they sucked when they were high,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want the government to loosen its grip on cannabis.

“What’s happened with marijuana is it’s a Schedule I drug, which means it’s presumed to be addictive and it’s presumed to have no medical value. Yet people are using it for all these medical applications,” he said. “So well, let’s study it. Well, you’re not allowed to study it because it’s a Schedule I drug… So that has to be sorted out.”

In touting the benefits of legalization, the science guy is in alignment with the late Carl Sagan, under whom Nye studied astronomy at Cornell University.

Fellow Sagan protégé Neil deGrasse Tyson also recently endorsed legalization in response to a question from a Marijuana Moment journalist.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Backs Legalizing Marijuana

Featured image screengrab courtesy of NowThis.

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Woody Harrelson Smoked Marijuana During Dinner With Trump

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Woody Harrelson doesn’t smoke marijuana anymore, but in a new interview he revealed that he once used cannabis to get through a dinner with Donald Trump.

“It was brutal. I’d never met a more narcissistic man,” Harrelson said during an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show on Friday night. “He talked about himself the whole time. I had to walk out like halfway through [and] smoke a joint just to like steel myself for the rest of the dinner.”

The actor attended the dinner, in 2002, at the behest of then-Gov. Jesse Ventura of Minnesota. Trump was, at the time, considering a run for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination and was trying to court Ventura to commit to run on a ticket with him, Harrelson said.

Harrelson, a former cannabis enthusiast, announced earlier this year that he quit smoking marijuana.

In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s ABC show last week he said that he at first tried to hide his abstinence from Willie Nelson, who he thought would be disappointed.

Maher, who himself is a well-known marijuana consumer, gave Harrelson somewhat of a hard time during the new interview about his giving up toking.

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Woody Harrelson Tried To Hide Marijuana Abstinence From Willie Nelson

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Woody Harrelson made headlines when he announced earlier this year that he quit smoking marijuana.

Now, in a new interview, the Oscar-nominated actor says it was difficult to share the decision with his cannabis enthusiast friend Willie Nelson.

“That was a very hard one to break,” he said in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Friday. “At first, I’m like pretending [to smoke a joint]. I’m just holding it because I don’t want him to know and then finally I’m like, ‘Willie, I quit.'”

But it has apparently taken Nelson some time to come to terms with the change.

“And still it never fails, the joint comes around and he passes it to me,” Harrelson said. “He keeps waiting for me to smoke again.”

Harrelson previously discussed his cannabis abstinence and his friendship with Nelson in an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

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