Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Drug policy (3 collections)
SCUA

Cannabis Reform Coalition

Cannabis Reform Coalition Records, 1993-2013.
2 boxes (2 linear feet).
Call no.: RS 45/80 C3

The Cannabis Reform Coalition at UMass Amherst was founded in 1991 and is considered the oldest student-run organization devoted to ending the prohibition on cannabis both locally and nationally and advocating for its industrial, medicinal, and recreational use for moral, environmental, and economic reasons. The CRC is one of the more active student organizations on campus and among other events, it sponsors the annual Extravaganja in April, which has attracted as many as 10,000 participants.

The CRC collection contains an assortment of fliers, posters, ephemera, and photographs, documenting the organization’s activities and activism, along with a small number of published and unpublished essays on the utility of hemp and cannbis products.

Subjects
  • Marijuana--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
Types of material
  • Fliers (Printed matter)
  • Photographs

Grinspoon, Lester, 1928-

Lester Grinspoon Papers, 1962-2011.
30 boxes (45 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 751

Lester Grinspoon, Oct. 2010
Lester Grinspoon, Oct. 2010

Lester Grinspoon, the Harvard psychiatrist who became a celebrated advocate for reforming marijuana laws, was born June 24, 1928, in Newton, Massachusetts. A veteran of the Merchant Marines and a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Medical School, he trained at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute but later turned away from psychoanalysis. Senior psychiatrist for 40 years at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Grinspoon is associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In the mid-1960s, struck by the rising popularity of marijuana and its reputed dangers, Grinspoon began to examine the medical and scientific literature about marijuana usage. To his surprise, he found no evidence to support claims of marijuana’s harmful effects, and his resulting 1969 Scientific American article drew wide attention. His research ultimately convinced him of marijuana’s benefits, including enhanced creativity and medicinal uses. His own young son, undergoing chemotherapy for the leukemia that eventually took his life, found his severe nausea greatly eased by marijuana. By his 40s, Grinspoon had gained renown as an outspoken proponent of responsible adult use and legalization.

The Lester Grinspoon Papers comprehensively document Grinspoon’s advocacy and activism, including his role as a board member of NORML; his research and writing of the books Marihuana Reconsidered and Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, numerous articles, two web sites, and more; his position as an expert witness in criminal trials; and his relationships with friends, colleagues, and many others, such as Carl Sagan, John Lennon, Keith Stroup, and Melanie Dreher. The collection comprises correspondence, research material, drafts and publications, clinical accounts, clippings, ephemera, scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials: photographs, as well as videotapes and DVDs of Grinspoon’s appearances on television and in documentary films.

Subjects
  • Harvard Medical School. Dept. of Psychiatry
  • Marijuana--Health aspects
  • Marijuana--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana--Physiological effect
  • Marijuana--Therapeutic use
  • Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)
Contributors
  • Grinspoon, Lester, 1928-
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Scrapbooks
  • Videotapes

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.) Records, 1970-2008.
58 boxes (87 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 757

Keith Stroup, ca. 1975
Keith Stroup, ca. 1975

Founded by attorney Keith Stroup in 1970, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is the nation’s oldest and most prominent organization advocating for an end to cannabis prohibition. A nonprofit public-interest advocacy group based in Washington, DC, NORML has lobbied at the state and federal levels for the elimination of penalties for the cultivation, possession, and responsible use of cannabis, and it has met with success in state-level efforts at decriminalization. Over the years, NORML has led a wide variety of educational initiatives and coordinated its activities with other organizations working for cannabis reform. More recently, NORML has become a significant voice in the struggle to legalize the therapeutic use of marijuana.

The records of NORML offer a perspective on more than forty years of grassroots advocacy in cause of drug policy legislation. Highly varied in nature, the records include organizational records, research files on marijuana and marijuana use, promotional materials prepared by NORML, and letters from persons incarcerated for possession. The collection is currently being received by SCUA with new additions expected in the near term.

Subjects
  • Marijuana--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana--Physiological effect
  • Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
Contributors
  • Stroup, Keith, 1943-
Types of material
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

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