Dr. Lester Grinspoon, some of the vocal champions of marijuana legalization within the United States who promoted his advocacy in each best-selling books and Congressional testimony, died on Thursday. He was 92.
A local of Massachusetts, Grinspoon studied at Harvard Medical School, and later joined the school there as a professor. His curiosity in hashish started within the 1960s, when he stated its use within the U.S. “increased explosively.”
“At that time I had no doubt that it was a very harmful drug that was unfortunately being used by more and more foolish young people who would not listen to or could not believe or understand the warnings about its dangers,” he later wrote.
Grinspoon stated his “aim was to define scientifically the nature and degree of those dangers,” however he in the end found that his notion of marijuana had lengthy been off the mark.
“I came to understand that I, like so many other people in this country, had been misinformed and misled,” Grinspoon stated. “There was little empirical evidence to support my beliefs about the dangers of marihuana.”
Writing, Research, And Nixon
By 1971, Grinspoon revealed the e book for which he’s finest identified, and which endlessly established his bona fides as an authority on medical hashish, “Marihuana Reconsidered.” The e book made an instantaneous impression, with the New York Times hailing it because the “best dope on pot so far.”
Grinspoon offered analysis and literature all through the e book to make his case for legalization.
“After three years of research on cannabis, I concluded that not only was it much less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, but also that no harm it might cause was nearly as serious as the damage attributable to the annual arrest of 400,000 mostly young people on marihuana charges,” Grinspoon wrote within the introduction of a reprint of the e book.
The e book turned Grinspoon right into a minor superstar. The Times, in its assessment, wrote that “hopefully many Americans will read Lester Grinspoon’s “Marihuana Reconsidered” and make the most of the knowledge so nicely offered in reaching their very own choice on ‘spot,’ to legalize or not.”
It additionally drew the eye of the sitting president on the time, which was revealed years later in Richard Nixon’s Oval Office recordings.
“Every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish,” Nixon stated in one of many recordings. On Grinspoon, Nixon was as blunt as he was harsh: “this clown is far on the left.”
The e book additionally drew the ire of a few of Grinspoon’s colleagues, with the Boston Globe reporting in 2018 that he was denied promotion to full professor twice and that his “his allies believe an undercurrent of unscientific prejudice against cannabis among faculty and school leaders doomed his chances.”
But by the tip of his life, Grinspoon loved one thing of a vindication, with one state after one other lastly embracing his imaginative and prescient of legalization. He grew to become chair of NORML’s board of administrators; since 1999, the group has awarded “the Lester Grinspoon Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Marijuana Law Reform.”
“While there have been other medical and public health experts who have taken an active role to advance full legalization of marijuana, it is Dr. Lester Grinspoon who first led the way to insist that our marijuana policies be based on legitimate science,” NORML founder Keith Stroup stated in an announcement. “He has made it possible for us to have an informed public policy debate leading to the growing list of states legalizing the responsible use of marijuana.”