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Lester Grinspoon, Harvard Psychiatrist And Early Champion Of Marijuana Reforms, Dies At 92

He enraged President Nixon and rankled his colleagues, but inspired legions

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, the Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and author whose early, blistering criticism of marijuana prohibition made him a hero to generations of activists and cannabis consumers while drawing scorn from authority figures, died Thursday at his home in Newton, his family said. He was 92.

Dr. Grinspoon’s classic 1971 book “Marihuana Reconsidered” helped launch the contemporary movement to legalize the drug, lending Ivy League credibility to a cause more associated with hippie counterculture than serious medical research.

In it, he methodically dismantled the evidence behind pot’s supposed harms, and suggested the aggressive enforcement of drug laws was largely a tool of political suppression, not public health. The New York Times called it, “the best dope on pot so far.”

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