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In Memoriam: Medical Marijuana Researcher, Advocate Dr. Tod Mikuriya Dead at 73

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #487)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Dr. Tod Hiro Mikuriya, MD, a psychiatrist, prominent researcher, and medical marijuana advocate, died Sunday night at his Berkeley, California, home. He was 73 years of age.

Tod Mikuriya
Mikuriya, who was a member of DRCNet's Board of Advisors, earned a medical degree at Temple University, then completed a psychiatric residency at Southern Pacific General Hospital in San Francisco before joining the US Army Medical Corps. After military service and serving at state hospitals in California and Oregon, he directed marijuana research at the National Institutes of Mental Health in 1967, but quickly quit, citing political interference with research results.

He turned to a private practice in psychiatry, but his clinical interest in marijuana never waned. In 1973, he published the pioneering "Medical Marijuana Papers," an anthology of journal articles on cannabis therapeutics, and he later founded the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

Mikuriya was deeply involved in the campaign for Proposition 215, the groundbreaking 1996 initiative that made California the first state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. After Prop 215 passed, Mikuriya served as Medical Coordinator of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, the Hayward Hempery, and the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club -- organizations established to provide access to medical marijuana for patients.

In 2000, Mikuriya founded the California Cannabis Research Medical Group, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to conducting quality medical marijuana research, to ensuring the safety and confidentiality of all research subjects, and to maintaining the highest quality of standards and risk management."

In 2003, Mikuriya was placed on probation by the Medical Board of California after an investigation into allegations of unprofessional conduct in 16 cases since 1998. Mikuriya and his supporters said he was being targeted for his medical marijuana advocacy. He appealed the board ruling, and continued to practice up until his death.

Dr. Mikuriya remained an ardent and animated advocate of medical marijuana, and more broadly, social justice, up until the end. His vision, principles, and perseverance are to be emulated. They will certainly be missed.

Mikuriya contributed a collection of papers that are available in DRCNet's Drug Library, Schaffer Library section, online here.

Listen to the DrugTruth Network's half hour tribute, including interviews with Mikuriya and remembrances of friends and family, here.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

His commitment to patients was total, in Prop 19 days he would go to remote county's and conduct free clinics to assist patients. His Pioneering work helped create our movement.

Fri, 05/25/2007 - 12:55pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

wow, I've smoked it daily for 28 years and haven't experienced most of those things listed.I think people take life way too seriously. It is mostly an illusion. Life never ends, and death is an illusion. Quit taking everything so seriously. If you think all we are is physical bodies, guess again. It isn't will power that makes a person quit doing drugs, it is the power of Spirit. With that power, all things are possible, even the possibility of leaving other people to take their own paths in life is possible! We all have our paths in life, and as long as I don't hurt anyone why should anyone care what I put in my body? Namaste!

Sat, 05/26/2007 - 4:11pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

pot isnt that bad for you, and people like you should really try toking up before you start talking bad about the stuff. pure stupidity

Thu, 11/29/2007 - 1:19pm Permalink

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