Lester Grinspoon, M.D., the longtime Harvard professor, psychiatrist, and creator of twelve books — together with Marihuana Reconsidered, the one most complete and considerate and convincing clarification of the essential want to finish marijuana prohibition and set up a authorized marijuana market — handed away early this morning. He was 92 years previous.
His extraordinary private dedication to advancing each marijuana coverage and the NORML group demonstrated his deeply held perception that all of us have an obligation to combat injustice at any time when and wherever we discover it.
For the final 5 a long time, Dr. Grinspoon was the mental chief of the marijuana legalization motion. Like most of his technology, he started with an assumption that marijuana was a harmful drug and ought to be prohibited. But these biases have been initially challenged by Dr. Grinspoon’s shut buddy, (then) Harvard colleague astronomer Carl Sagan, who satisfied him that his preliminary unfavorable views about marijuana have been probably mistaken, and that he may personally discover the marijuana expertise to be a constructive one.
Once Dr. Grinspoon started his evaluation of the out there literature within the 1970s, he concluded that there was no motive to deal with marijuana people who smoke as criminals; and much more importantly, he adopted his previous buddy’s perspective that in the appropriate scenario, marijuana smoking might be an enriching expertise. He ended up being a leisure marijuana smoker for the stability of his life.
In addition, Dr. Grinspoon and his spouse Betsy had the tragic expertise of dropping their son Danny to most cancers when he was a younger teenager. During Danny’s remaining yr of therapy, they noticed firsthand that marijuana was extremely efficient at serving to him endure the ravaging uncomfortable side effects from the excessive doses of chemotherapy he was being given. This private tragedy helped form Grinspoon’s perception that marijuana was a priceless medication. In 1993, he authored (with James B. Bakalar) the e-book Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, which argued for the legalization of hashish in order that its full medicinal potential could possibly be harnessed.
Lester’s scholarly credentials made it unattainable to disregard his lengthy advocacy for marijuana and marijuana legalization. He appeared as an knowledgeable witness earlier than a number of committees of the U.S. Congress in addition to many state legislative committees. In 1990 he obtained the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement within the Field of Scholarship and Writing from the Drug Policy Foundation in Washington, D.C. In 1999 the NORML board of administrators established the Lester Grinspoon Award for Outstanding Achievement within the Field of Marijuana Law Reform, our highest honor, and Grinspoon was appropriately the first recipient. Dr. Grinspoon was additionally a long-serving member of NORML’s Board of Directors, together with a few years as board chair. He served as a member of the NORML Advisory Board up till his dying
In the tip, Dr. Lester Grinspoon led the best way to insist that our marijuana insurance policies be based mostly on professional science. He made it potential for us to have an knowledgeable public coverage debate resulting in the rising listing of states legalizing the accountable use of marijuana.
May he relaxation in peace.