Grinspoon stormed off to the medical school library to prove Sagan wrong. Instead, he found his assumptions about the drug had little basis. - As I explained in the 1st blog of this series; "Marijuana Reconsidered (Part 1)", When Dr. Grinspoon began studying marijuana, his intention was to "define scientifically the nature and degree of the dangers his friend Carl Sagan was facing when choosing to consume cannabis.
“I have concluded, that marijuana is a relatively safe intoxicant which is not addicting, does not in and of itself lead to the use of harder drugs, is not criminogenic, and does not lead to sexual excess.” The real harm, he added, was “the way we as a society were dealing with people who use it,” - Grinspoon would later write, referring to the incarceration of marijuana users.
But as he reviewed the existing literature on the subject, Grinspoon reached the conclusion he and the general public had been misinformed and misled. - Ironically, Grinspoon came to his conclusions without having, at the time, tried marijuana. He reasoned his credibility would be undermined if he was labeled a “dope-smoker.” He would only first try it two years later, around the time he was also administering marijuana to his young son, who was dying of cancer. Eventually, he came out publicly, hoping it would help dispel stoner stereotypes.
The book unfortunately also earned Grinspoon critics both in the White House and at Harvard Medical School. Colleagues greeted the pro-pot tome skeptically. Though more muted than Nixon’s ravings, their disapproval ultimately had more influence on his career.
To Learn More About The Report Responsible for Getting Dr. Grinspoon to Reconsider Marijuana - Read Our Next Blog “The LaGuardia Report | A Deep Dive (Part1)”
After retiring, Dr. Grinspoon launched a website where he published occasional reflections on marijuana and his career. - Articles by Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar and other items of interest