Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Says Marijuana 'Can Be Helpful'

| by Edward Arnold

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has softened his views on marijuana.

In his Senate confirmation hearing last year, Murthy had a strong view against marijuana. 

Just like other drugs, I don’t recommend marijuana, and I don’t think it’s a good habit to use marijuana," he said. "If I had kids, I would tell them not to use it.”

Since officially becoming surgeon general in December, Vivek Murthy has now taken up the view that medical marijuana may offer some benefits.

"We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms that marijuana can be helpful,” he told “CBS This Morning.”

"My position is we have to see what the science tells us about the efficacy of marijuana, and I think we’re going to get a lot more data on that,” Murthy added. 

His first interview as surgeon general comes at a time when President Obama thinks that more states will legalize marijuana. Furthermore, three weeks ago Obama reminded The New Yorker that even he smoked pot as a kid.

"As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” Obama said.

But President Obama isn't the only one admitting to smoking pot. The Hill recorded several Congressmen commenting on their own experience with marijuana.

“I drank alcohol, and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” Jeb Bush told the Boston Globe. “It was pretty common.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has too. "Teenagers are often known for their lack of judgment, and Sen. Cruz was no exception," a Cruz spokesman said. "When he was a teenager, he foolishly experimented with marijuana. It was a mistake, and he's never tried it since."

While Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have not officially admitted to smoking pot, they have both admitted to making mistakes as a kid. Rand Paul's fraternity brother told The Hill, “Randy smoked pot.” 

Sen. Bernie Sanders admitted he smoked. “My hair was long, but not long for the times," he told New York Magazine. "I smoked marijuana but was never part of the drug culture. That wasn’t me.” 

Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and Hillary Clinton have all denied using marijuana.

National views on marijuana have continued to move toward tolerance and legalization. Yet, last week, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch testified to Congress that she does not support the legalization of marijuana. The Obama administration has continued to focus the issue of marijuana as a public health issue and not a criminal one. Murthy says he will reinforce that qualification. 

Sources: The Hill, (2) / Photo Credit: KOAA