July 10, 2020 11:29 am ETEstimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Dr. Lester Grinspoon passed away peacefully on the morning of June 25, 2020, at the age of 92. Longtime Harvard professor, psychiatrist, and author of twelve books – including Marihuana Reconsidered (1971) – which was once considered the single most comprehensive and thoughtful and convincing explanation of the crucial need to end cannabis prohibition. For fifty years following its publication, he continued to write on the subject.
Like most of his generation, he began with the assumption that cannabis was a dangerous drug and should be prohibited. When Dr. Grinspoon first entered Harvard, he viewed cannabis with the same typical criticism, believing it was a harmful drug. But those biases were initially challenged by his close friend, then Harvard colleague astronomer Carl Sagan. Sagan convinced Grinspoon that his initial negative views about cannabis were likely mistaken and that he might personally find the experience of cannabis to be a positive one.
Carl Sagan Offered to Split a Joint with Him
Once Dr. Grinspoon began his review of the available literature in the 1970s, he concluded that there was no reason to treat cannabis users as criminals. Even more importantly, he adopted Sagan’s perspective that in the right situation, cannabis use can be an enriching experience.
Apply For Your Medical Marijuana Card Today
Veriheal has satisfied hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide
Get approved or your money back
Appointments available on-demand
Customer support available 24/7
Unlike Sagan, Grinspoon once openly admitted to smoking cannabis in an interview with Barbara Walters. When the public saw a Harvard professor admit such a thing, he hoped it would reshape the image around cannabis users and stoner stereotypes. Decades would pass before that happened and Dr. Grinspoon suffered professionally for his public cannabis stance.
He was something of a campus renegade, speaking out against the Vietnam War. He was twice denied a promotion to full professor, once in 1975 and again in 1997, despite a career that included pioneering research on schizophrenia, dozens of books and papers, and leadership roles at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and other prestigious institutions. His extraordinary personal commitment to advancing both cannabis policy and the NORML organization demonstrated his deeply held belief that we all have an obligation to fight injustice.
Dr. Grinspoon’s Nearly Fifty-Year-Old book Now Reads Almost Prophetically
“Indeed the greatest potential for social harm lies in the scarring of so many young people and the reactive, institutional damages that are direct products of present marijuana laws,” Grinspoon wrote. “If we are to avoid having this harm reach the proportion of a national disaster within the next decade, we must move to make the social use of marijuana legal.”
In the end, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, despite being way ahead of his times – led the way to insist that cannabis policies be based on legitimate science. He made it possible to have an informed public policy debate leading to the growing list of states legalizing the responsible use of cannabis, even though it took his whole life. Looking at his lifetime of advocacy one can only wonder why in the US cannabis prohibition continues.
Natasha has worked as a journalist in the cannabis scene for several years. She travels regularly in her tiny house school bus conversion to keep up to date with the ever-changing industry. Her experience is varied and eclectic.
Blunts: What are they exactly, and how do they affect your body? If you’re interested in smoking blunts—or already smoke them—this guide is for you. We’ll cover everything you need to know about this popular cannabis intake method, including how they’re made, how they differ from spliffs and joints, risks of use, and alternative intake…
Cannabis edibles are a preferred method of consuming cannabis by both retail consumers and medical cannabis patients alike. But just how long do they last? Let’s explore the shelf life of edibles, how to store them, and what to do if they go bad. What Are Edibles? Common Types of Edibles How Long Do Edibles…
Navigating the laws on traveling with medical marijuana (MMJ) is incredibly confusing with the current global stance on cannabis. In the U.S., some states are okay with you bringing your medicine with you as long as you can prove your patient status, while other states are staunchly against it altogether, leaving MMJ patients in a…
People have been smoking joints for a long time. The first rolling papers surfaced around the early 1500s in Alcoy, Spain. These weren’t like the rolling papers we know today though. To start, these papers were intended for tobacco, not cannabis. They were made of hemp along with other textiles and lacked an adhesive gum…
Cannabis seeds, aka beans, come in a lot of different varieties. On top of countless different strains to choose from, there are regular cannabis seeds, feminized cannabis seeds, auto-flowering cannabis seeds, and ruderalis cannabis seeds. Ruderalis cannabis seeds are the least common out of the group, generally only used by breeders. Regular cannabis seeds produce…
The statements made regarding cannabis products on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cannabis is not an FDA-approved substance and is still illegal under federal law. The information provided on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. We strongly recommend that you consult with a physician or other qualified healthcare provider before using any cannabis products. The use of any information provided on this website is solely at your own risk.