Astrophysicist and original Cosmos host Carl Sagan was a quiet advocate for marijuana legalization and left behind boxes full of correspondence criticizing the “war on drugs,” Marijuana.com reported.
In an April 1990 letter to Drug Policy Foundation head Arnold Trebach, for instance, Sagan complained about an ad campaign by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
“Doesn’t it seem to you that these commercials routinely make gross distortions of the scientific facts and uncertainties in our knowledge?” Sagan wrote. “Shouldn’t there be a systematic attempt to rebut?”
Sagan was likely prevented from issuing his own rebuttal by NASA instituting a rule requiring contractors like himself to sign an oath saying he would not use marijuana.
“The oath required smacks of prior restraint and is unsymmetrical with respect to other crimes,” he wrote to Massachusetts Health Center chief Lester Grinspoon in June 1988. “We are not obliged to sign an oath that we will not murder our fellow employees, for example.”
The letters were released as part of a Library of Congress exhibition funded by Seth McFarlane, who produced the Cosmos revival, and Sagan’s widow and frequent collaborator, Ann Druyan.
“We smoked the way other American families would have wine with dinner,” Druyan told the marijuana advocacy site Smell The Truth. “For us, it was our sacrament. It was something that made a great life sweeter in every possible way.”
Druyan added that Sagan used marijuana to treat his lack of appetite and nausea in the months leading up to his death in 1996 from pneumonia.
"Some would call it happiness, but I like to think that what I found is me. That sounds simple enough, but the truth is, it took quite a while to do it."
- Willie Nelson
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