Lester Grinspoon Pioneer of Cannabis Normalization Dies at 92

Lester Grinspoon Pioneer of Cannabis Normalization Dies at 92

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, the renowned Harvard scholar whose works boldly challenged the cannabis stigma in an era when it was deeply entrenched in American culture, died June 25 at his home in the Boston area. His passing came unexpectedly, one day after he celebrated his 92nd birthday.  His most pioneering work, Marihuana Reconsidered, was published in 1971 and was the fruit of years of research spent at Harvard Medical School. In addition to a review of the scientific literature and historical material, the book includes actual first-hand interviews with cannabis users, portrayed without prejudice — a ground-breaking notion for its time. With multiple chapters dispassionately dedicated to deconstructing the propaganda of fear, it concludes with an open call for legalization. This call for action was given greater legitimacy by the fact that Grinspoon came to the conculsion as an objective scholar, rather than an already-convinced advocate. As he would admit in a new introduction for the 1994 reprint edition: “I first became interested in cannabis when its use increased explosively in the 1960s. At that time I had no doubt it was a very harmful drug that was unfortunately being used by more and more foolish young people… But as I reviewed the scientific, medical, and lay literature, my views began to change. I came to understand that I, like so many other people in this country, had been misinformed and misled.” Over the following decades, as the marijuana legalization movement burgeoned, Grinspoon emerged as its top intellectual authority and most respected representative.…

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