“I want a goddamn strong statement on marijuana,” the distinctive voice on the tape growls. “I mean, one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them.”
It was May 1971, and Richard Nixon was fuming over a review included in his morning news summary of the book “Marihuana Reconsidered,” in which 42-year-old Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Lester Grinspoon savaged the US government’s case for keeping cannabis illegal.
The book was immediately popular — The New York Times called it “The best dope on pot so far” — and the author’s Ivy League pedigree made it hard to dismiss as a hippie screed. But it also raised hackles at Harvard (more on that in a moment) and, plainly, in the White House.
“Every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish,” Nixon ranted in a conversation captured by the Oval Office recording system. “What the Christ is the matter with the Jews? . . . I suppose it’s because most of them are psychiatrists.”
Now 89, Grinspoon hadn’t known of the Nixon barb until recently.
“Imagine that,” he said, laughing uproariously. “I got the attention of one of the world’s biggest [jerks]. It’s a red badge of courage.” [Read more @ bostonglobe.com]