PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Over the weekend, well-known forensic pathologist, attorney and medical-legal consultant Cyril Wecht wrote an op-ed piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about how marijuana came to be demonized and expressed his support to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Wecht joined Larry Richert and John Shumway to discuss his piece and comment on a new poll that says a majority of Pennsylvanians support medical marijuana.
Wecht says there is one man who is responsible for the demonization of marijuana in the United States. His name was Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
“[Anslinger] ruled that office for 32 years,” Wecht said. During those years he “propagandized” marijuana with falsified information.
As part of Anslinger’s propaganda attack on marijuana Wecht points out Anslinger used racial epithets to mislead the American public.
One of the quotes Wecht attributes to Anslinger is, “There are 100,000 total marihuana smokers in the United States, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers…This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
Can you imagine that somebody in the seat of government making those statements?” Wechy said.
Wecht says that out of the thousands of autopsy’s he has done he has never signed out a death due to marijuana.
The real problem Wecht says are opioids that are used improperly.
“The death rate now [for opioids] exceeds the number of motor vehicle accidents.” he said. “Yet, they are being prescribed in order to take care of medical problems. Well, a lot of people benefit from marijuana.”
Wecht says he is for the medical use of marijuana but not for recreational use.
“I’m not in favor of anybody just going ahead and using any kind of a drug, whatever its minimal effects may be,” Wecht said.
Dr. Wecht also in favor of a decriminalization of marijuana stating he thinks too much time, money and effort is wasted on it.
A new Quinnipiac University poll says in the state of Pennsylvania, 85 percent of those polled agree with Dr. Wecht that medical marijuana should be legal in Pennsylvania.
“That poll is fantastic, I hope that the legislators of Pennsylvania will see it too,” Wecht said.
Listen to the full interview here: