Lester Grinspoon (1928- ) spent 40 years of his life as a senior psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and is currently an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus at Harvard Medical School. Initially fearing the effects of cannabis on American youth in the 1960s, Grinspoon set out to publish a study that would define how harmful and dangerous cannabis was to its users. After completing his study, what he found was the complete opposite, dramatically changing his stance on the drug. He instead published the book Marihuana Reconsidered in 1971, which made the argument that America had been misled about the “dangers” of cannabis, and laid out a plan for legalization. Behind closed doors, his book was deemed “too controversial” by Harvard’s faculty, whom denied him a promotion to full professor in both 1975 and 1997, despite his prestige. Nevertheless, he has been the recipient of the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship from the Drug Policy Foundation, awarded to him in 1990.
Artwork by Dale Edwin Murray