CNN wants pot dispensary to stop selling ‘Sanjay Gupta Kush’

Greg Campbell | Contributor

A Colorado medical marijuana dispensary has shown its appreciation to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who publicly announced that he now believes pot has medicinal benefits, by naming a strain in his honor: Gupta Kush.

CNN has shown its displeasure over the distinction by asking the dispensary to quit using the name.

Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent who was once a skeptic about marijuana’s value as a medicine, changed his mind recently in an article posted on CNN’s website. He also apologized for not taking it more seriously.

“I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now,” he wrote. “I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”

Jeff Kless, the owner of Helping Hands Herbals dispensary in Boulder extended to Gupta something of a tradition in the pot world, naming a strain after its well-known advocates. Country singer Willie Nelson and President Barack Obama both have pot varietals named in their honor.

“Dr. Gupta’s recent reporting on marijuana puts him at the forefront of the medical cannabis movement,” Kless said in a press release sent out last week, “and we thought what better way to honor his efforts than by giving him his own strain. We’d like to ensure he remains part of the annals of cannabis culture, and now he will.”

Gupta Kush is an indica strain said to impart a relaxing calm without compromising clarity and to relive pain and tension in the body. It was chosen specifically for its use by people who suffer from cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe pain, nausea, anxiety and wasting, Kless said.

“By naming a cannabis strain after Dr. Gupta, this is our way of tipping our hat and honoring him for taking such a firm, science-based stance on behalf of marijuana as ‘real’ medicine,” Kless said in the release. “He is confirming what our patients have been saying for years.”

CNN, however, is apparently uncomfortable with the honor. Kless said that a representative of the network called the dispensary within 24 hours of the press release and asked him to stop using the name.

“I didn’t field the call, but it was definitely a friendly call from CNN,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation, adding that the person didn’t specify why the network wanted Gupta’s name off the pot.

“I just assume that they don’t want one of their star people out there associated with this no matter what he said about it previously,” Kless said.

He said he’d never talked to Gupta, but that he would welcome the opportunity.

“I’d really like to,” he said. “He’s done a lot of research about this and it’s really something for him to step up like this and to actually issue an apology for his previous comments about medical marijuana. Given an opportunity, I’d love to speak to him.”

Kless said he was going to wait to see how hard CNN was going to push before deciding whether to change the name.

CNN did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

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