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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
National Manhunt for Murder Suspect; Castro's House Demolished; New Details on Deadly Snake Attack; Polar Bear Starves to Death in Wild; Medical Marijuana
Aired August 7, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Two missing children. We have breaking news on the manhunt. And I'll talk to the father of former kidnapped victim Elizabeth Smart about these anxious hours.
Also, gone for good. Ariel Castro's house of horrors reduced to rubble. An extraordinary moment watched by former prisoner Michelle Knight. How are she and the other women doing? I'll talk to somebody close to the families.
Plus deadly new details on that python attack that killed two children. Disturbing photos showing the brothers in a snake cage. Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin will joins me hopefully with some answers.
And gone to pot. America's marijuana obsession. The fight takes a surprising turn on the nation's capital and here at CNN. Dr. Sanjay Gupta fills us in and has a surprising revelation of his own.
We begin, though, with breaking news on that massive manhunt for James DiMaggio. Accused of murdering a woman and then kidnapping her two children. Tonight an Amber Alert has been issued in Oregon. And a vehicle related to the search for Hannah and Ethan Anderson was spotted this afternoon in northern California. Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies on the lookout for the vehicle.
At the same time, disturbing new developments. Police say the charred remains found inside the home of DiMaggio are consistent with that of an 8-year-old boy, the same age, of course, as young Ethan.
Well, joining me now is Jane Velez-Mitchell, anchor of HLN's "JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL."
Welcome to you, Jane.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Thank you.
MORGAN: It's awful story, this.
MORGAN: I mean, it would -- it would seem that the logical assumption from what we're now learning is that possibly the mother, Christine Anderson, and this 8-year-old boy Ethan may have died in the fire at the house that belonged to DiMaggio and he is on the loose somewhere with the daughter, Hannah Anderson, who is 16.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and there's breaking news. There were two possible sightings, one has been discounted, but, Piers, there another possible sighting in Oregon. A business owner saw a car that looked like the suspect vehicle. Wrote down the license plate. They are following that up. It's tenuous at this point but at least it's reason for hope.
The bottom line, Piers, is that this guy, this 40-year-old man, apparently had a crush on the 16-year-old daughter, the stunning beautiful 5'7", 115 pound, blue eyed, blonde haired, pubescent daughter of his good friends, and according to police, killed the mother, killed, it's believed -- they haven't identified the body but it's consistent with the 8-year-old son -- set the house on fire and took off with this beautiful young woman who had expressed to her friends -- this is the secret that's coming out tonight, Piers.
She had told her friends that she was creeped out by Uncle Jim. That's what they called him, Uncle Jim. Because he had revealed that he had a crush on her. He was infatuated with her. So --
MORGAN: And he -- just to put it in context.
MORGAN: He had known the family, I think, since these children were born.
MORGAN: So very, very close to them and a huge betrayal, if that's indeed what has happened here. And obviously great concern now for the safety of Hannah.
I think we have a clip here. This is of her father making a very emotional appeal earlier today for his daughter and indeed talking directly to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT ANDERSON, MISSING CHILDREN'S FATHER: I can't fathom what you were thinking. The damage is done. I'm begging you to let my daughter go. You've taken everything else.
Hannah, we all love you very much. If you have a chance, you take it. You run. You'll be found.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Brett Anderson there. He's the father of missing Hannah Anderson, and obviously, we still have unconfirmed reports about what's happened to his son, Ethan, but he's believed to have lost his life in that house fire.
To remind any viewers, because it's now a national manhunt, probably the biggest manhunt in America right now, they're looking for a blue four-door Nissan Versa, California license plate 6WCU986. And there have been sightings in California which have potentially been ruled out, we believe. But another one in Oregon, they're taking very seriously at the moment.
Please, if you have any information, do contact the authorities.
This Amber Alert, Jane, it's a pretty successful modus operandi, isn't it? Because there is a very high success rate in tracking people who are put out there as an Amber Alert.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and everybody pretty much hears about it because it's on the freeways, you see the big signs, and now they have alerts where people can get the alerts on their cell phones.
The thing is about this man is you look at photos of him, he is clearly emotional stunted. He's a 40-year-old man, wants to hang out with a 16-year-old. Right there that shows something is wrong, and he's sort of a Trojan horse who came in because the dad, the Anderson family's, the father of the family had to leave and go across the country for work. And guess what, he felt secured that this guy, the family friend, would be there to care for his wife and two kids.
And so this guy insinuates himself into the family, and what's really interesting is his ex-wife says that he had developed an obsession with video games, very, very childish video games that he would play obsessively, one of the reasons she left him. So what you have is a portrait of a guy who's emotionally stunted, who cannot relate to people his own age and who becomes fixated with a 16-year- old girl, a family friend.
And then I think the big question is, was he spotted doing something untoward with the girl and something exploded spontaneously, or did he plan this out? Or --
MORGAN: What we do know, we do know that he believed that he may be about to lose his home and that may have been the catalyst for the kind of mental state that he was in.
I repeat to viewers, if you do seem him, he is believed to be very dangerous. Call 911. Or anyone with specific information about the case is asked to call the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, 858-974-2321.
Just finally, Jane, you've covered lots of these stories over the years. The longer this goes on do you get a bigger sense of foreboding about what may have happened to Hannah?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I absolutely do, especially if she's terrified having seen quite possibly what happened to her mother and possibly her kid brother, and she's in the clutches of this man. Her dad said run. And I would repeat that. If you're watching, if you're in some motel room somewhere, Hannah, buy your time, find the moment and run. Get the heck out of there.
And Jim DiMaggio, if you are watching, I will tell you leave her. Leave her anywhere. At a rest stop, at a 7-Eleven, and just keep going, but let her go.
MORGAN: Jane Velez-Mitchell, thank you very much indeed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
MORGAN: Now to our other big story tonight. Ariel Castro's home or what is left of it. Very little, in fact. The three women he held captive for a decade will never forget the horror. But at they won't have to see that house they're imprisoned in anymore.
Early today crews and an excavator took apart 2207 Seymour Avenue, brick by brick. Crowds watched as Castro's house was wiped clean from the street reducing into rubble. Among those watching and rejoining today was Michelle Knight who spent a decade as a prisoner of Castro.
The healing will of course take years, but joining me outside what was formerly Castro's house, Lydia Esparra, a weekend anchor and a reporter for WOIO. Lydia also knows the family of Gina DeJesus.
Lydia, a very symbolic day today, the removal of any sign of this house of horrors.
LYDIA ESPARRA, WEEKEND ANCHOR, REPORTER, WOIO: It was indeed symbolic, and in fact, the first person who took a swipe out of the house, (INAUDIBLE), which is Gina DeJesus, one of the victims, or I should say, survivor now, it was her aunt who was in that bulldozer of sorts and just took a whack out of that house.
And she said it was so -- it was so freeing and she wanted to release the evil out of this neighborhood. For her, it was so cathartic and as soon as she got out of the machine, she was hugging Gina's mom.
It was a very emotional time for all the families and for everybody in this neighborhood who were watching that home come down.
MORGAN: Right. And a very powerful moment. Michelle Knight, who was the only one of the three victims of this appalling atrocity who was there today. She released balloons outside the house and she spoke very movingly at the scene. Let's watch what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE KNIGHT, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: I want the people out there to know, including the mothers, that they can have strength, they can have hope, and their child will come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: What was extraordinary, Lydia, was that Ariel Castro forfeited this house as part of his plea deal and was reported to have burst into tears as he signed off the deed because he said, and I'm quoting here from what he's believed to have told the authorities, "There were so many good memories in that house." A quite extraordinary delusion on his part. ESPARRA: Clearly you see how delusional he was because the first chance that they got to break out, Amanda Berry took that chance when her daughter told her, daddy is gone. So evidently his opinion of what was going on in that house was far different from the three women that were in there, because Amanda wasted no time getting out of that house and wasted no time telling police there were still two more people inside that home.
So, yes, listen, the neighbors here were part of that rescue when she came out and one of the neighbors tell me Michelle -- when Michelle came and thanked her, that she couldn't believe Michelle remembered her. She almost fell to her knees, almost cried because Michelle is just 4'7", and she's such a big personality, has such a big heart and she is such a good example of how you can fight evil and just go the opposite way, and pretty much throw it in his face that you're not going to put me down.
MORGAN: Lydia, finally, what is going to happen to the site of this former house? I mean, is it going to be kept empty? Will they build any kind of new property there?
ESPARRA: Well, they're talking about possibly a garden. The girls would like to see a garden. The neighbors would like to see maybe a playground for some of the kids, anyway to remember good positive things, is what they want, maybe putting an angel there with the yard.
But right now it's going to be blocked off. They're going to seed it. They're not going to let anybody on there to take dirt and try and get some kind of sordid memory from that place, but hopefully something goodwill come out of it and knowing how this neighborhood feels, I think the city is going to move pretty quickly.
My sources tell me, they're going to move very quickly to make that a positive site for everyone.
MORGAN: Lydia Esparra, thank you very much indeed.
My next guest has a lot to say about both the Castro story and the Amber alert for the missing children. Ed Smart's daughter Elizabeth was kidnapped from her home and rescued nine months later. And Ed joins me now.
Ed Smart, it's obviously very different kind of story but at the same time you would have gone through all the emotions, both as the father of a young woman who was kidnapped and the Cleveland parallel was there, obviously, but also this awful story of these two missing children, one believed to be a 16-year-old girl.
What is your reaction, first of all, to the scenes in Cleveland?
ED SMART, ELIZABETH SMART'S FATHER: You know, I just think it's a wonderful way of putting this all behind and starting to move forward. I think for the -- for the women, it would probably always be a reminder of a very bad nightmare that they lived in, so to demolish it, I think that's wonderful, and to hear -- I mean, for the whole neighborhood, I think to say, you know, this was a bad thing. It wasn't our fault and put it behind and move forward. I think that's a great way of dealing with it.
MORGAN: And given --
SMART: I think having it turned into a park or something else is a wonderful idea.
MORGAN: And given the awful experience that you had to endure as a father, and it ended obviously happily for you but ends disastrously for so many, given that it ended well and it has done for these three victims in Cleveland, what is the best advice you would give them and indeed their families around them for how they can make a proper recovery?
SMART: Well, you know, I think everyone's journey through that recovery is different. You might find some that become very outspoken, want to help others. Others just want to put it behind and start moving forward and basically evaporate from the public's eye.
And so I think that's very important to respect each one of their -- their own perspectives on how they do it and let them take that moment to, you know, find their own way. I mean, when you talk with everyone, there is never a one-fits-all type of thing, and I think one of the most important things that we can do as public is to respect their privacy.
I think that's one of the most important things. If they decide to go public and to be out in the public, that's one thing. But I think to give them their space is very, very important. You know, many people don't ever want to be known for, you know, this horrible thing that has happened, and I respect that.
I mean, everyone just handles things so completely different. But the important thing is that we as members of a society respect that, respect them, and give them their space and I feel that the way everything has been handled so far is really great.
You know, I know when Elizabeth came home, I was so grateful that, you know, she wasn't hounded, that, you know, she had her space. She was able to reconnect with her friends, and move forward, and that's how each one of them will be able to, if we give them the space and the opportunity.
You know, certainly, we were always so thankful for the prayers and the thoughtfulness of so many people wanting to help, and, you know, in the end, I feel like, you know, absolutely those prayers were answered and that help has been incredible in Elizabeth moving forward.
MORGAN: Obviously --
SMART: So that's something --
MORGAN: I was just going to say that obviously that -- the Cleveland story as with your own horrific, though it was, ended happily with their recovery. We have this ongoing situation of this California Amber alert and it is believed now that the mother may have also died with the 8-year-old boy, the young brother, and that this man is now on the loose, DiMaggio, with Hannah Anderson, who's 16.
What can you say to the family, particularly the father? He's obviously now in your position of just not knowing where his daughter is, what has happened to her. You've been in that position. But what can you say to him?
SMART: You know, my -- my advice is to stay positive and to, you know, just keep the pressure on. I think the Amber alert is a fantastic tool and the importance of it is keeping his daughter's picture out there, and being out there, keeping that picture out there.
You know, I don't think there is a better tool for law enforcement and for those associated in trying to find children than the public's eye. I mean, it's the bottom line. In our case, certainly, it was. It was the two people that spotted Mitchell at the same time that finally brought Elizabeth home to us.
And I just think that there is someone out there that's going to see something, and the importance of understanding, you know, this vehicle, this Versa Nissan, four-door blue with license plate, is something that everyone needs to keep their eyes open to.
You know, I just can't tell you as a parent, I think the Amber alert is the first line of defense for a child that's missing.
SMART: That information has been collected. So I think it is something outstanding and I would recommend that father supporting and making sure that he's out there as he has been to keep her face out there.
MORGAN: Ed Smart, thank you so much indeed for joining me. I really appreciate it.
Coming next, we'll take a look at new photographs of the two children who were killed by a snake while at a sleepover. What did they reveal about the deadly attack. I'll ask wildlife expert Jeff Corwin, he's coming up next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
MORGAN: And some more breaking news just in on the story we brought you yesterday. R&B superstar Usher has released a statement about his son's near-drowning in a swimming pool at his house over the weekend.
It read, "I'm blessed and fortunate to say my son Usher V is doing well and is recovering. I'm overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayers, love and support for my family's well being. I'd like to thank my Aunt Rena as well as the doctors and nurses who are working with us around the clock. I would especially like to thank the two men who saved my son's life, Eugene Stachurski and Ben Crews. They are true heroes and I'm deeply grateful to them."
Now to the new details from the tragic story of the Canadian boys killed during a sleepover by a 100-pound python that escaped its enclosure. New photographs show the two boys inside what appears to be a snake cage. And today an autopsy performed on 4-year-old Noah and 6-year-old Connor Barthe shows that they died from asphyxiation.
The investigation is still on going into exactly what happened that night. But joining me tonight is wildlife biologist and host of ABC's "Ocean Mysteries," Jeff Corwin.
Jeff, it's an awful story, this. And more and more information has kind of seeped out over the last 24 hours. And it would appear that these boys who are on a sleepover were in the same apartment as the cage, which was keeping this python and it escaped.
Is that your understanding of what happened here?
JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST/HOST OF ABC'S "OCEAN MYSTERIES": From the sounds of it, it comes across as a tragic recipe of disaster. And this is a powerful reptile. This is one of the longest and strongest and biggest snakes on the planet, and they are a voracious predator in the African Savannah where they live. And they don't belong in the presence of young children.
MORGAN: Do you believe that it is certain that it's the python that has killed these children? I only ask that because there is some local speculation that it may be too hasty to reach that conclusion despite the autopsy saying it was asphyxiation. I mean, is it the kind of thing that that kind of African rock python would do if it got out of the cage and found itself near two young boys like that?
CORWIN: Well, in the wild scenario, the ecosystem where this creature lives, they are known as being an aggressive species of snake. And that's because there are a lot of predators out there that eat pythons. And they have to be very tenacious when they target their prey.
This is a snake -- this particular snake was probably big enough to eat a small antelope. But human beings aren't usually on the food chain or on the diet of these animals. In fact, in the last 10 or 15 years there is only one account of a human being killed by on African rock python.
With that said, in the province of Canada where this happened, where this tragedy unfolded, it is illegal to keep large snakes like this and even in Massachusetts where I live, you need to have a specialized license to keep these animals. And that's really to protect the animals and to protect people. They are powerful, powerful creatures.
MORGAN: And in terms of this particular type of python, you have a python with you that's not the African rock python but when I did the show with you recently we had a big python in that day.
MORGAN: You know, I was struck --
MORGAN: -- when you're in close proximity by the sheer power of these things. I certainly wouldn't want to be near one without somebody like you, an expert, in control of it.
Should anybody have these kind of things in a home environment (INAUDIBLE)?
CORWIN: I think it's only in specialized situations should private citizens have large snakes like this. And particularly like educational institutions that specialize in teaching about snakes, it's -- I think there is a valid reason especially in that regard.
Now right here on my hand what I'm showing you is this very, very large snake. And you can see it right here. This is a Burmese python. This is a snake that is pushing upwards to 12 feet long, weighs about 100 pounds. It would be similar in size and girth and strength to the species of snake, even in appearance that unfortunately had attacked and killed those boys.
This is a species of snake that's known for being a lot more docile so I can handle it with a little less concern, but I never forget what this is. It's a powerful predator.
And I brought along with me, as well, this skull. This is a skull of a -- of a snake similar in size to the one in Canada and you can see that it is armed with those incredibly sharp teeth, and that's what this snake uses to latch on to its prey and then envelope it, and begin the constriction process.
But it can happen incredibly quickly. When this snake grabs on to its pray and wraps around it, unless it's an expert herpetologist, that prey doesn't really stand a chance to escape this perfect design for taking out your prey.
MORGAN: Right. Awful story. Let's turn quickly, Jeff, I mean, another story that made the headlines today, got a lot of activity on Twitter and Facebook, I noticed. It's the cover of the "Guardian" newspaper back in Britain showing a polar bear in the Arctic which had starved to death.
Now the significance being that it's believed he died due to a lack of sea ice in which to hunt seals. And in a new NOW study, 2012 was one of the warmest 10 years ever recorded, 2012 was the lowest level of sea ice in the Arctic on record, and this bear had been examined by scientists in April, appeared to be healthy and is now dead and they are linking it directly to the low levels of sea ice.
Are we now seeing some of the more deadly effects of global warming on the wildlife in the arctic? CORWIN: It is -- Piers, it's very quite possible. I have spent a lot of time up in the Arctic studying and working with these bears. These are creatures that is exquisitely designed to survive on ice. But ice is not only a place where they are able to live, they need ice for their survival.
Even though they are bears, we actually classified them as marine mammals because they have the ability to swim tremendous distances, but even these bears are now drowning because the perennial ice, that's the ancient ice that lasts from one decade to the next, has melted back so much they now enter a new world unexplored. A watery deadly world. And they need the ice.
They will sit there, Piers, above a blowhole and they will wait for that seal to come up and take a breath, and with an arm so powerful, they'll reach through that blowhole and ice this thick and pull out a seal this wide through that hole.
But the problem is if they don't have the ice, they can't survive. And it's very likely that we -- we may be looking at the first of our charismatic species to be facing potential extinction. There's only 25,000 left. We don't have many to spare. But unfortunately the ice continues to melt.
CORWIN: These creature will disappear and we can think of them as the canary in the coal mine for the state of this habitat.
MORGAN: Very said. Jeff Corwin, thank you very much indeed for joining me, as always.
Coming next, America's battle over pot. Should it be legal? I'll talk live to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He has some surprising things to say about weed, including a personal and dramatic U-turn.
Sanjay is with me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): People are lighting up all over the country. They call it the green rush. Marijuana has moved out of the back alleys and into the open.
(UNKNOWN): Happy cannabis cup you all.
(UNKNOWN): In some states, it's legal to grow, to sell, to smoke. And marijuana could be legalized in a city near you. So easy to get, and many think so harmless.
But when the smoke clears, is marijuana bad for you? Or could pot actually be good for you?
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: A take from Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentary, "Weed," which airs on CNN this Sunday night. Sanjay's got a year investigating the fight of a medical marijuana.
More and more Americans are using it. Just a few days ago, Washington, D.C. opened up its first medical marijuana dispensary. And CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me.
Now, Sanjay, welcome to you.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: So, you've been looking at this for a year. And I want to remind you that in 2009, you wrote a "Time Magazine" article entitled "Why I Would Vote No On Pot." You changed your mind?
GUPTA: I -- I have. And -- and -- and as part of the, you know, my thinking, recently, I have apologized for some of the earlier reporting because I think, you know, we've been terribly and systematically misled in this country for some time.
And I -- I was -- I did part of that misleading. You know, if -- if you're looking all the papers that are written in the United States about marijuana, the vast majority of them are about the harm.
We fund studies on harm. We don't fund studies on benefit nearly as much. So it gives a distorted picture. But you know, I didn't look far enough.
I didn't look deep enough. I didn't look at labs in other countries that are doing some incredible research. I didn't listen to the course of patients who said, not only does marijuana work for me, it's the only thing that works for me.
I took the DEA at their word when they said that they schedule one substance and has no medical applications. There was no scientific basis for them to say that.
MORGAN: So when -- when New York Mayor Bloomberg was reported to say medical marijuana is the greatest hoax of all time, what do you say to that?
GUPTA: I'm surprised. You know, I mean, I -- I follow a lot of the mayor's comments quite closely. I and listen to those comments as well. He -- as part of those same comments, he was saying that the potency of marijuana has gone up.
That is true. It has gone up, probably over the last several years. But I -- I urge him to look at the scientific papers. I was just looking at them again in preparation for your show.
The science is there. This isn't anecdotal. This isn't the realm -- in the realm of conjecture anymore. I mean, for a long time, we've just ignored these papers.
But this was a drug, you know, that was used for thousands of years.
MORGAN: Now, in your documentary, you get into the effects of medical marijuana which sometimes could be quite instant. It's quite dramatic.
GUPTA: It -- it really can. It works and it can work very quickly. In fact, let -- let me just show you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): I always have two strains (ph)...
GUPTA: Meet 19-year-old Chaz Moore (ph). He uses many different strains of marijuana, many of them high in CBD to treat his rare disorder of the diaphragm.
MOORE: My abs will like lock up.
GUPTA: That's why he's talking this way, almost speaking in hiccups like he can't catch his breath. It's called myoclonus diaphragmatic flutter.
This fluttering here -- it's annoying and -- but it becomes painful pretty quickly, I imagine, yes.
MOORE: Yes, after like 15, 20 minutes, this is where I can like start to really feel...
GUPTA: He's about to show me how the marijuana works. He's been convulsing now for seven minutes.
How quickly do you expect this to work?
MOORE: Within like the first five minutes. And I'm done like...
GUPTA: That's it.
MOORE: ...that's it.
GUPTA: It was actually less than a minute.
MOORE: Depending on the attack in a day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, that is pretty extraordinary.
GUPTA: He -- he was on so many different meds, Piers. It was a table full of meds that doctors had prescribed for him for this condition including oxycontin, valium. Any of those medications in too high a dose could have been really problematic.
And they didn't work. I mean, look, you know, the -- the proof is -- is becoming increasingly clear I think if you look for it.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. When we come back, we're going to get -- we'll be live with Sanjay. We'll bring in Howard Samuels, the CEO of the Hills Treatment.
Now, you and he have clashed horns before. We'll do it again after the break because he does not agree with you and can be quite forceful about it. Let's get to that after the break.
MORGAN: The medical marijuana controversy rages on in America. Should it be legal or not? Let's debate it. Back with us now is Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Also joining us is Howard Samuels, who's a former addict turned (inaudible), The Hills Treatment Center, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Howard Samuels, we spoke before about this. You feel very strongly from your own experiences as a personal addict and treating other addicts that it's a real gateway drug, marijuana, and we should not be encouraging it to be legalized.
HOWARD SAMUELS, CEO, HILLS TREATMENT: Well, absolutely. I mean, I think that the doctor has a very good point that for medical purposes, marijuana can be very, very useful.
But you have to understand, the vast majority of people that use weed use it to get loaded. They use it to get high. And look, I'm not here to say that it's, you know, worse than alcohol.
Of course, it's not worse than alcohol. But why in the world would we legalize another drug so our nation's youth have another substance to abuse and medicate their feelings with, you know? And this is to me the -- the issue.
We don't want to go from one extreme from (ph) madness, which we know is a total exaggeration, but we don't want to go to the other extreme where we legalize this drug and endanger so many of our young people.
SAMUELS: We want to find a healthy balance...
MORGAN: OK, let me throw that point to Sanjay. It's a point well-made, quite reasoned.
GUPTA: Well, I mean, look, the -- it can be difficult to -- to sort of stratify the legitimate patients who have use for cannabis, not only as a medication but as the only medication for their sufferings. And as -- as the doctor says, people who just want to get loaded or get high. That's true.
MORGAN: If it's no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco, why shouldn't it be legalized? Why (ph) -- isn't there an inconsistency in government policy?
GUPTA: I -- I think so. And -- and let me take it a step further than that. I think it's irresponsible of the medical community not to offer this as an alternative.
Two points -- first of all, these other medications that we talk about for pain, for example, morphine, dilaudid, oxycontin, vicodin -- you name it. Every 19 minutes in this country, Piers, in the United States, someone dies of an accidental prescription drug overdose.
This is no joke -- every 19 minutes. As we investigate this, I couldn't find one documented case of someone dying of a marijuana overdose.
We also know that for some situations like neuropathic pain, which is that lancinating terrible pain people can get in their limbs or extremities. Sometimes, marijuana is the only thing that can actually work.
MORGAN: Well, I know -- I've known someone with chance. He used it and had huge beneficial effects.
I mean, my -- my point to you, Howard Samuels, is that I'm going to make a shocking revelation here. I've tried cannabis when I was young -- younger lad.
And I've also had to have vicodin when I broke some ribs falling off embarrassingly, a segway in Santa Monica. And I can tell you that it was the vicodin which I was prescribed by my doctor which gave me a massively higher high than the cannabis ever did.
And I couldn't see the logic between making the vicodin a legally prescribed drug and making cannabis as demonized drug. Explain to me the difference.
SAMUELS: Well, I have to agree with you. I mean, I have no disagreement with that. I mean, I don't have an issue with marijuana being used for certain pain things.
I mean, of course it's safer than vicodin. I mean, I've had patients die off vicodin. I've never had anybody die off marijuana. But I have had people come to me -- hundreds of people that I've had to treat that have addiction to marijuana that have serious emotional side effects as a result of that.
So I think the issue here is, you know, being able to decriminalize marijuana without question but not making it legal, which is...
MORGAN: Well, let me ask you this, then -- let me ask you this, then. OK...
SAMUELS: ...let me give you a message that it's safe but (inaudible) but it's not.
MORGAN: OK. Right. I think you're (inaudible) position there from the (ph) last (ph) time (ph) because this (inaudible) wrong. Your real (ph) -- the -- the logical extension of your argument is that we should be banning all sorts of prescription drugs, probably alcohol as well and tobacco. They should all be banned as well as cannabis because that's the logical key (ph) of your argument.
SAMUELS: No, no, I never -- and -- and I'm sorry if I -- if you misunderstood me, that all these drugs do have a place (ph). The problem is that we don't have a medical restrictions that these drugs are all too open on the market for abuse, OK?
Marijuana needs to be a controlled substance, not legalized where we have commercials and we're sort of, you know, the corporations are talking about which drug to get loaded on, you know, marijuana this, marijuana that.
MORGAN: OK. OK, let's (ph)...
SAMUELS: That's what I'm talking about.
MORGAN: OK, let me get to -- let me get to Sanjay.
SAMUELS: We have to -- we have to come up with a different concept other (ph) than legalize or not.
MORGAN: Let me get back to Sanjay. Let me ask you, Sanjay. I've made my stunning confession. I've tried (ph) cannabis when I was younger. Have you tried it?
GUPTA: I have -- I have tried it. It's...
MORGAN: Well, what effect did it have on you compared to, say, drinking alcohol or whatever?
GUPTA: Well, you know, the irony isn't in some ways because I work on this documentary. It was -- it was a while ago that I tried this.
I didn't particularly care for it actually. It -- it made me kind of anxious and -- and it wasn't a very pleasant feeling, I think. And -- and -- and I have talked to a lot of people who've -- who've had similar sort of experiences. But from a medicinal standpoint, this idea that it can provide something that isn't already provided, I think the doctor, you know, he's sort of saying, you're going to see ads for it making it sound like it's some over-the-counter drug that everyone can buy.
Right now, it's listed as -- as the most dangerous substance -- it's in the category of most dangerous substances in America.
MORGAN: Which is ridiculous, I think.
GUPTA: The -- the addiction is possibly real, about nine percent. Put it in context, cocaine is about 20 percent. That's actually considered less dangerous than marijuana.
Alcohol is -- has a higher rate of addiction. Smoking -- 30 percent and -- and that leads to far more deaths than marijuana. So it's -- it's -- it's -- I just don't quite understand the moral equivalence that the doctor is making here.
MORGAN: Right. Howard Samuels, it's always good to talk to you.
MORGAN: Well, the final word to you, Howard Samuels.
MORGAN: I'm not saying marijuana is more dangerous than cocaine. Of course, it's not, you know and that's ridiculous.
GUPTA: But the U.S. government is saying that.
SAMUELS: I am saying, though, that marijuana should not be legalized because it is harmful to the emotional state of people having long-term exposure to it. And I've seen it.
And anybody in the treatment field's going to tell you the same thing. The people who...
MORGAN: But isn't that -- Howard Samuels -- Howard Samuels, let me jump in. Let me jump in. Isn't that also true, though, of so many other things?
I mean, isn't it true of alcohol, tobacco, vicodin and everything else, is that you will have a percentage of people -- you'll have a percentage of people so...
SAMUELS: Yes, that's the question -- the (ph) question (ph) -- solution (ph).
MORGAN: But here is the point that Sanjay is making is there has to be surely a consistency...
SAMUELS: ...because it's (ph) to legalize it.
MORGAN: Right, but...
SAMUELS: We're doing the same thing. We're -- we're giving more people an opportunity to get loaded. Why do we want to support that?
Last word to you, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Well, look, I'm -- I'm not quite sure I follow the doctor's arguments here. I think it is a potentially very effective medicine that has not been given a fair shake for 70 years in this country.
I think it can treat things that other medicines that exist now that are far more dangerous, far more toxic, lead to far more deaths cannot treat. It's -- it's bizarre to me quite frankly.
I think it's inhumane to these patients who -- who -- who can't get this treatment. I met patients in Colorado who -- who can get treatment. But they can never leave their state.
It's -- it's ridiculous. And -- and the doctor, I think, maybe he would agree with me, maybe he won't, I'm not sure. I don't understand his position. But it is irresponsible I think for the medical community not to have this as an option.
I have children. I don't want them getting loaded as he says on this stuff either. That's not the point.
GUPTA: The point is that we're trying to help take care of people. And we should not take marijuana off the table as an option here.
MORGAN: Sanjay, got to leave it there.
SAMUELS: And I -- and I totally -- I totally agree with you. Well, we shouldn't legalize it so our kids have an option to get loaded on a daily basis. That's not OK (ph).
MORGAN: Howard Samuels, you've made your point -- you've made your point, sir, very loudly and clearly. It's debatable carry-on raging because Americans are talking about this up and down the country.
And more and more states are beginning to legalize it for medicine reasons. Anyway, Sanjay's documentary, "Weed," airs this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. on CNN.
Coming next, Christine Quinn could be New York City's first female mayor. We (inaudible) what everyone thinks of her opponent, Anthony Weiner. And we'll hear from her next.
MORGAN: The New York mayoral race has been turned on its head by these sexting exploits of Anthony Weiner. Last night, tempers flare between Weiner and fellow candidate, George McDonald out of all places, AARP campaign event. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDONALD: Don't put your hands on me ever again.
WEINER: Really? What's going to happen if I do? Tough guy now?
MCDONALD: Yes, yes, I am.
WEINER: But your anger issues.
MCDONALD: I don't have any anger issues.
WEINER: But you do, grandpa.
MCDONALD: Oh, OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Never a dull moment. In the chair tonight to discuss this, city council speaker, Christine Quinn. Also joining me is social justice advocate, Sandra Fluke, who you may remember was called a slut by Rush Limbaugh, like quaking (ph) old dinosaur in the 2012 election after calling her health insurers to cover birth control.
Welcome to you, both.
QUINN: Thank you.
FLUKE: Thank you.
MORGAN: Sandra, you've come out today for -- for Christine because we're going to dwell slightly on Anthony Weiner. I never (ph) wanted (ph). For those who didn't quite pick up what he was saying there, Mr. McDonald, his opponent, said, "Don't put your hands on me ever again."
Weiner said, "What's going to happen if I do, tough guy?" Which he said, "Yes, yes, I am." "But your anger issues," said Weiner. "I don't have any anger issues, said George McDonald. "But you do, grandpa," said Anthony Weiner, at an AARP meeting -- not the most sensible thing, Christine.
QUINN: Yes, certainly yes, when you're speaking of seniors, you want to do it in a respectful way and a grateful way for what they've done for New York. But you know, I think the issue is, we want, in the 34 days we have left in this primary, to be talking about the issues that matter to New Yorkers, and for me, my record of delivering on those issues.
So I'm so happy to have Sandra with me today and to have her endorsement, a woman who stood up in Congress, stood up against horrible attacks and said that the health care needs a families matter, that the health care needs a women matter. And in my time in office, I've passed legislation requiring that every sexual assault and rape victim in New York City, when they go to a hospital now, they're offered emergency contraception because of what I've done.
And also, we have tight laws protecting women trying to go to reproductive health clinics in New York because of what I've done. And then the time ahead, that's what I want to talk to New Yorkers about.
MORGAN: OK, well, Sandra, I mean, that's all very well, all very pro-women this (ph) stuff (ph). But I mean, she can't offer women what Anthony Weiner can offer with his cell phone.
You know, I think what this...
MORGAN: I'm being facetious, obviously...
MORGAN: That was really a joke. But I mean, you get my point.
FLUKE: Is that British humor?
MORGAN: It is my British humor. Here is my point -- this is serious really. Should he still be in the race? I mean, you've got a guy -- a complete contrast to what Christine has just said, a guy that has been sexting all these women.
He isn't there (ph) so he didn't (ph) know anything about them. Should he still be campaigning against this woman that you've supported today?
FLUKE: You know, I think whether or not he is, isn't really the question. What's clear is he doesn't have the judgment to be the mayor of New York.
What's clear is that turning the campaign into this kind of circus has made it very clear to voters what kind of a choice they have to make. And they have a candidate who has a real record of accomplishment, who has delivered, you know, $47 million in funding for the infant mortality initiative, as Christine said, standing up for women's access to reproductive health care. MORGAN: OK, but let me jump in with you, Christine here...
MORGAN: ...which is that you -- you've talked to me very honestly before about your own battles with addiction...
MORGAN: ...with alcohol, bulimia and so on. He is claiming, Anthony Weiner -- this is a form of addiction and that he's now come to terms with it and dealt with it. As an addict yourself, do you have any sympathy with that position?
Or is he talking a lot about bunk (ph)?
QUINN: You know, Anthony Weiner is asking New Yorkers for a second chance. But he's asking for that...
MORGAN: Well, he's had the second chance. He's onto the third chance actually (ph).
QUINN: Fair enough. But he's shown us a pattern of reckless behavior and a real inability to tell the truth. And being the mayor of the City of New York, look, people deserve second chances. We've all made mistakes.
We all deserve forgiveness.
MORGAN: Third chance?
QUINN: But look, this is a serious job. We have 8.4 million people who need a mayor who's serious, focused and adult. And let's set aside the sexting scandal.
When Anthony Weiner was in Congress, 12 years, he had real opportunities to help the middle class. He passed one bill at the request of a campaign donor.
You juxtapose that to what I've done, eight balanced budgets on time, preventing the lay-off of 4,100 school teachers, something that helps young girls and women, making sure that the scam of crisis pregnancy centers was uncovered and stopped in our city. This is a record of delivering for families that's real and has helped our city and it's a record that not just Anthony -- no one else running for mayor this year can touch.
MORGAN: Is it true -- is it true when news of his latest indiscretion broke that you jumped in the air, punched several times in the air and did a conga around Times Square. I heard that rumor.
QUINN (ph): All (ph) right (ph).
FLUKE: She was dancing at an event the other night. You know, that's in the -- the footage.
QUINN: You know, it's -- it isn't true for a host of reasons because this is serious. We have unemployment that needs to be addressed.
MORGAN: Is he trivializing the whole campaign now, to be this great -- I mean, what do you think, Sandra (ph)? You're a voter. Is he trivializing the whole battle to become this great mayor of a great city like New York following the great Michael Bloomberg?
Is he trivializing just by staying in the race, given all that's been going on?
FLUKE: Well, I think what this reminds us of is that when you take on a position like mayor of New York, you're a role model in one respect or another. And I don't think that Mr. Weiner is the kind of role model New Yorkers are looking for.
By contrast, we have a chance to have the first woman mayor. You know, we were campaigning throughout New York today. And there were young girls coming up and wanting to have their photo taken with Chris because she's been a role model for years and electing the first female mayor will send a really strong message in that respect...
MORGAN: What do you count (ph) of that, Christine? Your chances have got significantly better with Anthony Weiner's latest mishap, haven't (ph) they (ph)?
QUINN: You know, I -- I felt good about my chances from day one.
MORGAN: Well, the head (ph) got better.
QUINN: You know, I felt really good from day one because...
FLUKE: The polls.
QUINN: ...that's right. So the polls and the truth is, in elections like these, what matters is what you've done because the only way people know what you're going to do is what you have done for them.
And no one else, not Anthony Weiner, not anyone else can tell you they grew high-tech and manufacturing jobs in this city during the recession. I did. No one else can tell you...
MORGAN: But more importantly, right, we're in New York, A-Rod.
MORGAN: Do you think, as I do, that he's one of the great cheats in sporting history and should be kicked out of baseball?
QUINN: Disgraceful. It's a disgrace. And quite frankly, he shouldn't have been on the field this week. I don't know why the Yankees played him. I'm a Yankees fan.
They should not have played him. And I'm sick of seeing him on the cover of the newspaper.
MORGAN: In that case, I'm voting for you. Christine Quinn and Sandra, thank you, both, very much indeed for coming.
FLUKE: Thank you.
QUINN: Thank you.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. A special presentation of CNN films, "Our Nixon" starts in a few moments.