Tom Angell has been spending some time at the Library of Congress reading through newly available papers from the estate of Carl Sagan, the scientist who might just have had more impact on the popular culture than any other in his time. What’s truly fascinating is how Sagan’s employment by NASA made it all but impossible for him to publicly say what he privately believed: that cannabis is a positive good for individuals and for society as a whole. But mainly, they also reveal a true scientist’s frustration with prejudice over data, and with easy answers to conventional questions.
After the jump is the full text of a letter Sagan wrote to the president of the Drug policy Foundation, responding to the idea of a televised debate on drug laws. It is largely a series of questions – and they remain as relevant today as ever:
(Photo: Pots of cannabis inside a medical cannabis cultivation facility in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Monday, March 4, 2013. This is inside a warehouse in Denver, and is one of the facilities that Kristi Kelly, Co-Founder of Good Meds Network, operates. By Matthew Staver/For The Washington Post via Getty Images.)