Wellesley and the legalization of pot

Lester Grinspoon, Wellesley, HarvardThe last thing I expected when reading the recent Boston Magazine cover story (“Lost in the Weeds”) on whether pot should be legalized, or more immediately, approved in Massachusetts for medical use, was to come across a Wellesley reference.

But sure enough, partway through the story the writer starts quoting Wellesley’s own Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

The story documents Grinspoon’s investigation into the dangers and benefits of marijuana and reads in part:

In 1967, Grinspoon was watching as his friends and contemporaries quickly adopted marijuana as their drug of choice. He feared that it “was a dangerous drug, no question about it.” Since he was an M.D., he took it upon himself to find definitive proof of marijuana’s harmful effects, then use what he’d discovered to convince young people to quit. Thus began an exhaustive review of the cannabis-related literature in the Harvard Medical School library. The more he looked, though, the more he became convinced that marijuana wasn’t dangerous. He published his results in Scientific American in December 1969, and two years later expanded his argument in a book called Marihuana Reconsidered. “At first I thought it was a terrible drug,” Grinspoon says. “But that first book was to reassure me and the rest of the world that we were all wrong about this, that this is a remarkably nontoxic drug. It’s the only drug I know of that you can’t…establish a death from it, from an overdose.”

I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised by what Wellesley references I might find in Boston Magazine, though. You might recall another story in there a few years back where Wellesley gets mentioned among towns where swingers might be found.

RELATED: Marijuana is not Medicine, argues Wellesley police chief

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