Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany. He received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and his doctorate from Indiana University. Mitch has over 100 publications in scientific journals on the addictions. He has received research grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as well as the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation.
After years as an alcohol researcher, Mitch began teaching an undergraduate course on drugs and human behavior. He was excited to share all the dangers of binge drinking with a large group of college students. The students, however, were far more interested in marijuana. Eager to avoid spreading any misinformation, Mitch reviewed the relevant research, which led to his book “Understanding Marijuana”. The class helped Mitch earn commendation for his teaching, including the University’s coveted General Education Teaching Award.
After reviewing all of the science of marijuana, Mitch felt he could not stand idly by while people went to jail for possession. The research showed millions of people who used marijuana responsibly. Law enforcement officials could use their time more wisely by battling violent crime. Our crowded court systems could use a break. More and more states and countries were saving immense amounts of money by changing their marijuana policies. But more important than any estimate of costs and benefits, the idea of punishing people for possession just seemed morally wrong.