Dr. Lester Grinspoon celebrated his 92nd birthday on June 25 and passed away in the early morning of June 26, with his wife Betsy by his side.
An associate professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and senior psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Dr. Grinspoon was one of the earliest proponents of cannabis. He became interested in the late 1960s when he began research that formed the basis for his first book Marihuana Reconsidered, published in 1971.
“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 in the introduction of the 1994 reprint of his book. “I naively believed that once people understood that marihuana was much less harmful than drugs already legal, the laws against it would be repealed.”
Sadly, Grinspoon would not live to see that happen. But he never stopped trying.