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Biden's Pot Pardons Doesn't Mean Marijuana is Safe; Airline Ticket Set to Increase for Holiday Travel; New Study on Walking to Keep Weight Off. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 11, 2022 - 06:30   ET




KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I strongly believe in this (ph). And the majority of Americans agree. Nobody should have to go to jail for smoking weed, right?


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: That was Vice President Kamala Harris making her first appearance on a late-night show since taking office and seeming to reverse her stance on marijuana after overseeing nearly 2,000 marijuana-related convictions as San Francisco D.A. Harris appearing with Seth Meyer touting President Biden's announcement last week to pardon all federal marijuana convictions.

Biden's decision garnered praise from many in favor of legalizing marijuana, but it's also raising some concerns from some health officials, including our next guest, Dr. Leana Wen. She is a CNN medical analyst, emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner.

Dr. Wen just wrote a new "Washington Post" op-ed titled "We Need to Talk about Marijuana's Potential Harm to Youths."

All right, we're trying to bring her back so that we can talk -- OK.

So, Dr. Wen, I wanted to ask you about this. You described Biden's plan as a long, overdue step to rectify policies that have disproportionately impacted communities of color. You also warn, though, on the flip side, it shouldn't be taken as a signal that everyone should start smoking pot recreationally all the time. So, explain that part.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: That's right. There are two things that can be true at once. First is that, I support Biden's policy. I saw, as the health commissioner in Baltimore, about how our drug policies disproportionately impact communities of color and are not working. But I also don't want Biden's announcement to be misinterpreted and misunderstood as somehow that marijuana is totally harmless or that we should be normalizing recreational drug use, especially in young people. There are a lot of research to demonstrate this. There was a 2020

report on the National Institute of Drug Abuse that lays this out about three major harms of marijuana to young people. One is that it impacts cognitive ability, it decreases memory, attention. Even I.Q. It's -- smoking marijuana, using marijuana regularly, leads to higher dropout rates in high school, lower GPAs in college. Also using marijuana regularly is associated with depression, anxieties, psychosis. And marijuana itself can be addictive. As many as 30 percent of individuals who use marijuana regularly can get marijuana use disorder, which requires treatment.

Nd so all of this shows that marijuana is not a benign drug. I'm not saying that we should be - we should be putting people in jail for using marijuana, but rather that we need to change this dominant narrative that somehow marijuana is fine because it does have potential harms.


And we need to be educating about those harms.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Dr. Wen, you point out, you know, it's not like we don't have a model for this. You can decriminalize and discourage something at the same time, say, like, tobacco, or say even, you know, potentially alcohol.

WEN: That's exactly right. I think using tobacco is a good way for us to think about it because we don't throw people in jail for using cigarettes. It's legal. But at the same time, we banned the sale of tobacco for young people. We also regulate the content of nicotine. And, very importantly, we actively educate on the dangers of cigarette smoking, especially for youth. And right now that's just not happening. I mean I hear anecdotally my patients, for example, of course, saying, well, I smoke -- I use marijuana. I use pot. No big deal. We also hear this in -- about young people as well. Parents of young kids will say, well, it's only marijuana. And I think that's a narrative that needs to change. We should be talking about the potential dangers, because there are many dangers of cannabis on the developing brain.

KEILAR: There's this disagreement. You know, is marijuana a gateway drug or not? You warn about risks of addiction and increased likelihood of opioid use among marijuana users, but the National Institute of Drug Abuse says the majority of user do not actually go on to use harder substances.

So, how do we look at this?

WEN: There is an association that exists. And I recognize this is an association, a correlation, not a causation, and we need to study this a lot more because could it be bidirectional? Could it be that there are some individuals more predisposed to using drugs in general and they also happen to use marijuana? We don't know.

But what we do know is that using marijuana is associated with a lot of things, including psychosis. For example, studies show that individuals, young people who use marijuana on a daily basis are nearly five times more likely to develop psychosis. And so we should just be aware of this.

And, also, there are some people who are claiming that marijuana could be a treatment for things like opioid use disorders. That is not shown in evidence in research to be true.

So, again, just to be aware that there are potential dangers and we should be treating marijuana use disorder as a disease in and of itself that needs to be treated.

KEILAR: All right, Dr. Leana Wen, thank you so much. Obviously, there's a lot of conversation to be had and a lot of research to be done as well. Thank you.

The cost to fly home for the holidays is expected to soon skyrocket. This is happening as airlines are working to prevent another travel meltdown.

BERMAN: Protests at the University of Florida as a Republican senator is named as the front-runner to be the school's next president.



KEILAR: This morning, the third largest rail union in the U.S. is rejecting a tentative agreement to avoid a strike. Fifty-seven percent of the union's track maintenance workers voted against the deal, which included 24 percent raises and $5,000 bonuses. The union says the deal did not do enough to address the lack of paid time off and working conditions. And this means there's a renewed possibility of a strike that could cripple the nations already struggling supply chain. But both sides will return to the bargaining table before that happens.

BERMAN: This morning, a new forecast predicts the cost of holiday travel will shoot up this week as the Thanksgiving rush gets closer. The big question, whether that ticket you pay for will be worth it after airlines face big meltdowns this summer.

CNN's Pete Muntean is live at Reagan National Airport.

Isn't the question about whether it's worth it a value judgement, Pete? Doesn't it depend on where you're going or if you're going to see? I don't think it's the airlines' fault if you don't like spending time with your family.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: That's a very valid point, John. You know, we're six weeks out, it's kind of hard to believe, from the beginning of this Thanksgiving rush, and experts say that right now is the time to buy your tickets.

You know, airlines really shocked passengers with thousands of flight cancellations over the summer. Now what you are going to have to prepare for is sticker shock.


MUNTEAN (voice over): Thanksgiving travel is about to take off, and it will be the most expensive of the last five years. Travel site Hopper says tickets will cost 19 percent more compared to last year. The average domestic round-trip ticket, $274.

HAYLEY BERG, LEAD ECONOMIST, HOPPER: This Thanksgiving will be a very expensive holiday to travel, especially for travelers who are booking late.

MUNTEAN: Now the pressure is on airlines to avoid a meltdown like this summer when they canceled a total of 55,000 flights. Federal data shows 40 percent of all the cancellations were for reasons that the airlines could control, not weather.

BILLY NOLEN, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: It is abundantly clear that the majority of delays rests with the airlines.

MUNTEAN: While airlines insist the blame is on the under staffed air traffic control centers.

SCOTT KIRBY, CEO, UNITED AIRLINES: In the summer we had shortages almost every day. And they just lead to hundreds - they can lead to hundreds of cancellations and delays.

MUNTEAN: Hiring is ramping up. The FAA is bringing on new air traffic controllers. American Airlines has hired more than 1,400 new employees since Labor Day. United has added more than 1,500 new pilots this year and there are 3,000 new flight attendants at Southwest.

SARA NELSON, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS-CWA: We're certainly with you. We're pushing on our airlines to not over promise on the schedules so that we can actually deliver what we're selling to you.

MUNTEAN: Even still, carriers are cutting their fall schedules. A move Delta call a huge improvement in curbing summer cancellations and delays. Industry data shows American Airlines dropped 31,000 placeholder flights from its November schedule. For travelers, it all adds up to a travel season with fewer options and higher prices.

BERG: We're expecting to see chaos at the airports over the holidays, but American travelers have shown that they're resilient and they're willing to pay more and experience these disruption to get back to see family and friends after two years of depressed travel.



MUNTEAN: OK, here are the big tips from Hopper if you have not booked your tickets just yet. Fly out the Monday before Thanksgiving. Fly back home the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Although I'm getting the sense, John, you probably don't want to say with the in-laws all that long. BERMAN: That's a long visit. That's a very long visit there. Just

saying, Pete. There are some considerations you have to take into account here.

But, look, these tickets are getting more expensive. You've got to plan ahead in this environment. No question about that.

Pete Muntean, thank you very much.

MUNTEAN: So true.

BERMAN: So, how many steps really are needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Dr. Tara Narula breaks down this new study, next.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Raiders' receiver Davante Adams caught shoving a production crew member after a tough loss.




CHRISTOPHER LLOYD, ACTOR, "BACK TO THE FUTURE": Ah! What did I tell you? Eighty-eight miles per hour!


KEILAR: It has been 37 years since "Back to the Future" hit the big screen and now Marty McFly and Doc are back together again. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd appeared together at New York's Comic Con where they spoke on a panel about the Hollywood blockbuster. Fans went wild as footage of the pair embracing circulated. One tweeting that watching Fox hug Lloyd like this is, quote, so beautiful.

BERMAN: You know, they talked about - and I never heard them talk about this before - you know, Michael J. Fox was not the original Marty McFly. Eric Stolz was actually Marty McFly in the film. They filmed for like six weeks and then they decided they didn't like Eric Stolz and they brought in Michael J. Fox. And Christopher Lloyd, at Comic Con - and I never heard him talk about this - just said how much sort of better the chemistry was and how much more natural it was to work with Michael J. Fox, who had to take time off from "Family Ties."

KEILAR: I mean, I love Eric Stolz. Don't get me wrong. But I cannot image - I can't imagine a "Back to the Future" without Michael J. Fox. All of them.

BERMAN: No, it is hard. Oh, that's such a sweet hug. It is nice to see the two of them together, Marty and Doc Brown, together forever.

All right, it is no surprise that walking is good for you, but what is the magic number when it comes to just how many steps you should be taking every day? Here with an answer, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula.

You know, forever we've been told 10,000. But what's the right number?

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What's the magic number? How many steps did you take this weekend when you ran your 5k?

BERMAN: That - when you go running it sort of distorts it.

NARULA: So, it's somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000.

BERMAN: Right.

NARULA: So, yes, what is the magic number?

Well, researchers in this study wanted to see, how did physical activity, or steps, how would that translate to the development of chronic disease. So they took 6,000 adults, average age about 56, most of whom were overweight. They had a body mass index of about 28. They gave them a Fitbit and they said, wear this for 10 hours a day or more, and they followed them over four years.

And so they found that about 8,200 steps a day was associated with a lower risk of not just diabetes and high blood pressure and weight gain, but also major depressive disorder, acid reflux and sleep apnea. And, in fact, if you were overweight to begin with, and you increased your steps from 6,000 to 11,000, you dropped your risk of becoming obese by about 64 percent.

Now, it's really important to point out, this was not the type of study where we can prove cause an effects. It's an observational study. There were some other limitations. It was predominantly women. Again, predominantly women who were already more active. They're already taking on average about 7,000 steps.

But, bottom line, move more. Move more, sit less.

BERMAN: I think it's the easiest way to make yourself healthier. Not just physically, but mentally.

I want to take a little credit. Harry Enten, I don't know if you've met Harry yet or know Harry.


BERMAN: I told Harry that he should get healthier, and all you have to do is walk. And he walks to and from work every day. And if people watch our show, they know how great Harry looks now.

You're a cardiologist, right?


BERMAN: So, what do you think of this?

NARULA: Yes. So, this is like our bread and butter. We spend so much time in our offices talking about physical activity and how important that is. And so a lot of times you'll you're your cardiologist not so much focus on steps, but we focus a lot on minutes. Minutes of aerobic activity per week. So the recommendation is really 150 minutes a week of a moderate intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic activity. If you want to lose weight, it's actually even more. It's usually like 300 minutes.

And so that's really what we tend to counsel on. But for a lot of people, that idea of steps is just a little bit more tangible, which is fine. Again, and it doesn't have to be in minutes like in a row. You can separate them out. You can do ten minutes here, ten minutes there. But you really want to keep that kind of goal in mind.

BERMAN: What about, you know, the smart watches, the Fitbits? Do you think that they are helpful in achieving these goals?

NARULA: I mean there's no question that wearables are really part of our world. I just had a patient yesterday ask me what Apple watch he should get, the one that has the oxygen level, the EKG? So, you know, people are using them. And I think it's good. Why? Because it empowers patients. It gives them information so they can really take action with regards to their health. They can set goals. And also it gives the doctor or clinician information because they can come in and say, this is what I've done, what do you think? And it really speaks to that idea of a personalized health approach, which is really where we want to go in the future, really tailoring things to who the person is, what their risk factors are. So.

BERMAN: Yes, more data is also good. It's always helpful.

NARULA: Correct.

BERMAN: I'm always astounded if I have a day where I see, like, 3,000 steps? I always feel awful at the end.

NARULA: I know. Now you've got to go running today.

BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE). All right, Dr. Tara Narula, great to see you. Thank you very much.

The key witness in the House January 6th committee is now cooperating with prosecutors in Georgia. The reporting first on CNN.

KEILAR: And CNN is live from Dnipro, Ukraine, this morning as Russia unleashes another round the attacks overnight.



BERMAN: This morning, Las Vegas Raiders receiver Davante Adams is apologizing after shoving a cameraman to the ground last night. The incident happened as Adams was on his way to the locker room. He was, obviously, upset. This happened after the Raiders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs by one point.


DAVANTE ADAMS, WIDE RECEIVER, LOS VEGAS RAIDERS: Before I answer anything else, I want to apologize to the guy, it was some guy running off the field, and he ran and jumped in front of me when I'm coming off the field and I bumped into him and kind of pushed him and then he ended up on the ground. So, I want to say sorry to him for that because that was just frustration mixed with him running and - and literally just running in front of me. And that was -- I shouldn't - I shouldn't have responded that. But that's - that's how I initially responded. So, I want to apologize to him for that.


BERMAN: And it's not yet known whether the NFL will take action. You could imagine Adams getting some kind of discipline for this.

All right, NEW DAY continues right now.

KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar, alongside John Berman, on this NEW DAY.


G7 leaders set to hold an emergency meeting this morning as Russia escalates its strikes in Ukraine.

After damning testimony before the House's January