Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a psychiatrist, is a retired professor at the Harvard Medical School and a well-published author in the field of drugs and drug policy. He has authored more than 140 articles in scientific journals and twelve books, including Marijuana Reconsidered and Marijuana, The Forbidden Medicine.
Dr. Grinspoon is widely known as the author or co-author of several cannabis/psychedelic-related books, including Marihuana Reconsidered (publication dates 1971, 1977 and 1994), Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered, Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine and Psychedelic Reflections. The first two were published during the 1970s, when it appeared cannabis was well on its way to nationwide decriminalization in the United States. Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine was published in 1993. It describes a variety of ailments for which cannabis ingestion may be indicated. Grinspoon contributed a chapter to Jefferson Fish’s book How to Legalize Drugs.
Dr. Grinspoon became interested in marijuana in the 1960s when its use in the United States increased dramatically. He “had no doubt that it was a very harmful drug that was, unfortunately, being used by more and more foolish young people who would not listen to or could not believe or understand the warnings about its dangers.” When Grinspoon began studying marijuana in 1967, his intention was to “define scientifically the nature and degree of those dangers” but as he reviewed the existing literature on the subject Grinspoon reached the conclusion he and the general public had been misinformed and misled. “There was little empirical evidence to support my beliefs about the dangers of marijuana,” and he was convinced cannabis was much less harmful than he had believed. The title of Marihuana Reconsidered “reflected that change in view.” He has testified before Congress, and as an expert witness in various legal proceedings, including the deportation hearings of John Lennon. Grinspoon worked with Ramsey Clark on a number of international marijuana-related incidents.
In 1990 Dr. Grinspoon won the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship from the Drug Policy Foundation. The award is now given by the Drug Policy Alliance which was formed in the year 2000 by a merger of the Drug Policy Foundation and The Lindesmith Center.