Cannabis industry icon Cheryl Shuman squared off with actor and model Antonio Sabato Jr. on the nationally syndicated Dr. Phil show in response to Sabato’s campaign to ban the growth, distribution and sale of medical marijuana in homes that have children under the age of 18.
Dr. Phil, hosted by Dr. Phil McGraw, is a spin-off of the doctor’s successful segments on the Oprah Winfrey Show and is in its 11th season. The talk show commands a wide audience as it tackles controversial topics, drawing on the doctor’s ability to key in on the root cause of problems and offer his special brand of analysis.
The previous segment went long, leaving Antonio and Cheryl only enough time for a few comments on the topic. As it turned out, Antonio’s crusade is a personal one based on a failed relationship with the mother of his eleven-year-old daughter. His ex-girlfriend has a legal marijuana business and grows cannabis in her home. Because Antonio used marijuana to get high in his younger days, and then went on to abuse other substances, he feels as though his ex’s business is a bad influence on his daughter.
Antonio said that “one of the biggest issues right now, in the United States, is medical marijuana, and I want to try and keep as many kids away from this as possible.” While I understand that his message is based on his own experiences with marijuana as a “gateway” drug for his personal drug abuse, he seemed completely oblivious to the benefits that cannabis offers to people of all ages.
With Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s recent CNN documentary, WEED, that highlighted the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat a severe form of childhood epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome, I expected Antonio to be, well, more informed.
It is my opinion that Antonio is trying to use his celebrity to change the laws to align with his opinion that cannabis should be outlawed. I’m sure it would just be a “serendipitous” outcome that he would most likely be granted sole custody of his daughter should such a law be enacted. His biggest fear is that once his daughter becomes a teenager, she would laud the benefits of medical marijuana and would want to use it, too.
To be clear, Sabato Jr. spoke in general terms and not solely about his daughter. Interestingly, he made no mention about the “dangers” of exposing kids to other intoxicating drugs or alcohol. For example, his premise infers that making red wine in one’s home should be banned as well, because the beneficial effects of resveratrol would make his daughter want to drink wine. No word from Sabato Jr. about banning teens’ new favorite intoxicant: prescription drugs.
The show segment that went long and left little time for the medical marijuana topic to unfold was about “a lazy, irresponsible (teen) mom who refuses to get a job and is often found asleep on the couch, leaving her 11-month-old baby unattended” (Citation 1) while testing positive for recreational marijuana use. Antonio showed no interest in what may have caused this teen mom’s underlying issues, only that she used marijuana.
Honest debate only happens when you are willing to hear the other point of view so that you can respond with a valid rebuttal. When Cheryl was finally given an opportunity to speak, Antonio was quick to interrupt. I truly believe that his passion is derived from the love of his daughter and this had made the issue a “crusade” for him. And then with pinpoint accuracy, Cheryl said, “I think that this is a custody issue versus a medical marijuana issue.” Bingo!
Both Antonio and Cheryl agreed that children should be protected from the use of medical marijuana without the recommendations of medical professionals. Dr. Phil then interjected the results of a poll that the show had conducted (and as the credits began to roll) that asked “should parents with children under 18 be banned from being able to grow & distribute medical marijuana?” Not surprisingly, 61% answered “yes,” as the question provided no clue as to how CBD derived from hemp, which has no psychotropic (the high) effects, might fit that scenario. The debate ended with Cheryl’s comment that “we need law reform and we need regulation to protect our families,” which I took to mean that common sense needs to be injected into the legal landscape.
Even though the segment was cut short, this type of exposure is invaluable for HempMedsPX, which has taken the lead as the exclusive master distributor and contracted marketing company for CannaVest Corp (CANV) and MJNA. HempMedsPX is a portfolio company of MJNA and markets products from other MJNA subsidiaries and partner organizations.
Since coming on board, HempMedsPX has been a lightning rod of marketing and branding as they have canvassed trade shows and other events showcasing existing products and introducing the new Cibdex™ and the Cibaderm™ product lines. Previously existing products include CanChew™ hemp CBD gum and Real Scientific Hemp Oil™ (RSHO™). To further enhance product visibility, HempMedsPX recently brought Cheryl on board as a Brand Ambassador and anticipate her presence to be a significant catalyst in bringing greater product and CBD awareness to the masses.
I know that sensationalism helps to pay the bills as far as talk shows go, but let’s hope that that future hosts don’t let these types of typical “baby mama drama” segments overshadow an important national message about the benefits of hemp, cannabis, and natural CBD.
Disclosure: I am an investor in MJNA and this article was written on behalf of Medical Marijuana, Inc.
Citation 1 – Website link: http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/2097