In Memoriam: Dr. John P. Morgan

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Dr. John P. Morgan, one of the leading supporters of drug policy reform within the medical and academic worlds, died last Friday in New York City at age 67. Morgan succumbed to leukemia in a case that came on suddenly, taking family, friends and colleagues by surprise, many of whom had enjoyed conversations with him at recent conferences where he had appeared quite healthy.
John Morgan (courtesy NORML)
Morgan was a professor of pharmacology at City University of New York's Medical School from 1977 until his retirement in 2004. Though best known to the movement as coauthor of the 1997 book "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts" -- with sociologist Lynn Zimmer, who passed away in 2006 -- Morgan has in fact been a staunch activist for drug law reform for decades. His service to the cause included a lengthy association with NORML, including many years sitting on its Board of Directors and Advisory Board, as well as on boards of the Drug Policy Foundation, now known as the Drug Policy Alliance.

Morgan was also a fixture at drug reform conferences, where, in addition to educating audiences on the intricacies of drug reform, he displayed a broad knowledge (and love of) popular music, especially pop music related to various drug cultures. On multiple occasions he gave presentations on marijuana references in classic jazz.

"Every single man and woman in this country and around the world who care about replacing prohibition-oriented policies with science/public health-based policies owe a man like John Morgan immense thanks and praise," said NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre in a statement announcing Morgan's untimely demise to the reform community.

Truly, Dr. John Morgan was a giant among advocates for a more humane drug policy. His achievements are enduring, but he will be sorely missed.

A memorial service for Dr. Morgan will be held at 2:00pm, Saturday, February 23 at City College on 140th Street and Amsterdam in Manhattan. It will be in the Faculty Dining Hall in the North Academic Center at Amsterdam and 138th street (map). The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in his name be made to support Stem Cell or Multiple Sclerosis research at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Call the hospital's Development Office at (212) 659-8500 or use their online gift form here.

Read Marsha Rosenbaum's tribute to John Morgan here. Read Jacob Sullum's tribute to him on the Reason web site here.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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my heart felt condolences to his family and friends.

Dammit, another good one gone

Another voice raised against the lies is stilled. Ave atque vale, Doctor Morgan. You will not be forgotten...

John P.Morgan,- A Great Human Being

Dr. John Morgan was someone that I considered a very dear friend.
Some people might not be aware of how kind, compassionate and simply put, big hearted this giant of a human being was.

Several years ago when I was involved in trying to help the NJ Weedman through his legal nightmare I decided to give Dr. Morgan a call for help.
He immediately made me feel totally at ease stating that he would be happy to be an expert witness for Ed Forchion. All he needed to know was the date he was needed.

Within the last month the drug war insanity hit closer to home. A relative had someone he considered a friend calling for pot. This "friend"we learned later was trying to lessen his legal problems by entrapping my family member. Once again I called Dr. Morgan and once again he said that he will be there just let him know the date and the strategy.

I am devastated by John's death.He never let on that his situation was much more serious then the artificial problem that america's drug war problem creates for so many decent people.

I will never forget you John and I am inspired by you to always give hope to anyone that I can.
Rest in Peace my friend.
Steven Fenichel, M.D.

A bright and Shining Light

Dr John Morgan represents the best of what it is to be American. He was fearless and unbowed in his fight for the millions of non-violent men, women and youths who are imprisoned for exercising their basic right to consciousness-changing.

Our best tribute to him is to take his baton and run the good race for an end to this Gulag that is America.
georgina shanley

Thanks Dr M!

I had the good fortune of being taught pharmacology by Dr Morgan at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education back in the early 80's. This truly exceptional man has left a long lasting impression on many physicians. This is his true legacy! Thank you,Dr, M, and rest in peace!
W. Molinari, MD

We've lost a great freedom fighter

I saw Dr. Morgan speak at a NORML conference in the late 90's, and though the whole conf was pretty marvelous, Dr. Morgan was the most memorable piece for me. I'll never forget the joyful and brilliant spirit with which he shared a video montage of pop music about weed. As he dimmed the lights the room full of suits and docs and lobbyists and whatnot all started blazing up, right there in the big public room at the Renaissance Hotel. It was a delightful moment for us all.

Hope there are plenty of sticky buds and good books to read and cool jazz in Dr. Morgan's next adventure.


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