KCLU special projects reporter John North produced “Medical Marijuana and the Cannabis Controversy.” The hour-long documentary features doctors, researchers and patients, including a man who received medical marijuana from the United States government for 30 years. North interviewed residents and officials from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as well as national experts.
In 1996, California became the first state in the nation to approve the use of medical marijuana. Today, the estimated number of medical marijuana patients in the state has grown to more than 1 million.
In the 16 years since California voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, 15 states and the District of Columbia have approved similar laws allowing the use of marijuana as medicine and 18 states have pending legislation. According to a Pew Research Center poll, 73 percent of Americans support medical marijuana.
However, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a dangerous, illegal drug with no therapeutic value and compares it to heroin, LSD and Ecstasy. While patients hail the benefits of medical marijuana, opponents say the laws are no more than an effort to legalize the drug.
North, a former Los Angeles radio reporter, received the 2011 John Swett Radio Award for Media Excellence for his KCLU documentary “K-12: On the Edge,” which explored the state’s school funding crisis. His documentary “Not in My Backyard,” which examined the problems California is facing in monitoring paroled sexual offenders, received awards from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California, the Associated Press Television and Radio Association and the Radio Television Digital News Association.
After it airs, the segment will be available at www.kclu.org.
KCLU is the National Public Radio station serving Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. It broadcasts at 88.3 FM in Ventura County and 1340 AM and 102.3 FM in Santa Barbara. The station is operated as a community service of California Lutheran University.