Goodbye, Dr. Tod

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I am sad to report the passing of Dr. Tod Mikuriya, a leading and long-time advocate for medical marijuana, scientific and historical marijuana researcher, physician and drug policy reformer. Tod was a member of DRCNet's advisory board and a long-time friend. Phil has written a memorial to Tod for this week's Chronicle, and I am also posting it here. Click the "read full post" link below, if you don't already see it, or read it online here. Tod Mikuriya addressing a NORML conference 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. 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.
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