Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been entertainingly educating the public on a whole host of scientific issues over the years, rising to a level of fame only seen by a select few scientists like Stephen Hawking and Tyson’s mentor, the late Carl Sagan. It was great for the cannabis community (and extra points if you are a proud nerd like me), to see Tyson agree with the great Carl Sagan that cannabis should never have been deemed illegal in the first place.
Many have long wondered Tyson’s stance on marijuana prohibition, but we never got a definitive answer until Tom Angell, Marijuana Majority chairman and blogger extraordinaire at MassRoots, managed to question Tyson via a StarTalk Q&A hosted by Chuck Nice. Tyson started StarTalk as a podcast back in 2009 and the popular program eventually spun off a TV program as well.
Tyson actually jumped the gun on answering the legalization question as Angell wisely led off his question with, “Do you agree with Carl Sagan…” which led the scientist to immediately blurt out “Yes,” noting that he rarely disagreed with one of his idols. Nice then continued to read the rest of the question, about whether marijuana should be legalized. Tyson chuckled and provided a thoughtful response, grounded, of course, in science.
“If you really analyze it,” the astrophysicist began, “relative to other things that are legal, there’s no reason for it to ever have been made illegal in the system of laws.”
“That is extremely rational, which I expect from you, and you’re absolutely right,” Chuck Nice responded.
“Alcohol is legal,” Tyson remarked, “and it can mess you up way more than smoking a few J’s.”
Angell, who I greatly admire, was understandably happy that Neil deGrasse Tyson provided a positive answer to his question on marijuana legalization. “Today I influenced one of the world’s most famous scientists to endorse legalizing marijuana. How’s your day going?” Tom posted on Facebook. Of course, Mr. Angell broke the story at Massroots.
Neil deGrasse Tyson agreeing with a majority of Americans that there is absolutely no reason to wage a war on marijuana, is a huge endorsement for the cannabis community. When Reefer Madness prohibitionists try to absurdly claim that science isn’t on the side of legalization, we have the ultimate response as we are backed by one of the most prominent scientists in modern history.