I got hooked on marijuana in the combat zone

Not the insatiable craving kind of hooked, a blinding drive to stave off withdrawal, but rather the hook that fuels a political junkie.

It began, my first “hit,” while serving on a court martial board in Vietnam. A twenty-four year old enlisted man, my age by the way, was caught with ten joints.

I learned how intensely political marijuana can be

Thus began four decades plus of being lured by marijuana’s muse. It led me to unexpected and sometimes risky places such as testifying before a U.S. Senate committee, challenging the chairman who believed GI pot smoking was the cause of the My Lai massacre.

I became a marijuana researcher

It followed me to academia where, since the mid-1980s, I’ve conducted research on marijuana dependence counseling for adults and for adolescents.

For a while, I was a dealer

I stashed 16 pounds of a pot grower’s donated crop in my basement and taught cancer patients how to get high.

Making marijuana users criminal seemed wrong

I lobbied for a new approach to reducing marijuana’s harms.

Forty years of looking through multiple lenses

As a marijuana dependence researcher, addiction therapist, compulsive user, dealer, and activist, I’ve had to sort out for myself what to think about pot. The stories in “Marijuana Nation” tell how I figured it out.