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Wiley is publishing a series titled “Philosophy for Everyone” and one of the series is devoted to marijuana. If you don’t know Wiley, they are a major publisher of scholarly materials, and the book is a series of essays that seem a lot like the conference proceedings that Wiley normally publishes. The tone, however, is decidedly popular and accessible, not wooden and impenetrable.

The first essay is by Lester Grinspoon, one of my personal heroes. He’s the Harvard professor geek who by a series of accidents discovered marijuana and has been for 40 years a courageous activist against what he has termed “Cannabinaphobia.”  If you don’t know of him and his work, I suggest you stop reading this and switch to his account of his personal discovery of marijuana. One of the highlights of my drug activism days was helping to organize an event where Dr. Grinspoon spoke by phone – so I got to ask him a couple of questions directly. He felt then like a grand old uncle – wise, secure, and pleasantly sensible.

A couple of Lester’s toking buddies were Carl Sagan and Sagan’s author wife Ann Druyan.  Unlike Dr. Grinspoon, Sagan was unwilling to go public with his smoking – not wanting to compromise his career as an eminent astronomer, but he did anonymously pen a chapter for one of Grinspoon’s books describing how valuable he personally found marijuana.  If you haven’t read it, you should probably run right out and buy a copy of Marihuana Reconsidered (note the unusual spelling, more formal at the time, and Amazon’s misspelling of the book title), or just read the essay (if this is an accurate posting).

It was nice to come across Dr. Grinspoon again, but I really have to wonder how long, oh cosmos, will they continue to arrest roughly a million Americans a year for marijuana related offenses.  The home of the free?  Yeah, right.  Would that Canada were any better!


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