The Huffington Post | By Nick Wing
Carl Sagan, a titan of scientific study and communication, died in 1996, leaving behind an expansive legacy of research and education. He assumed a diverse set of roles throughout his life, including as a longtime casual user of and advocate for marijuana.
Sagan’s involvement with pot began as a secret, when he penned an essay in 1969, at the age of 35, under the pseudonym “Mr. X.” The piece, in which Sagan described the benefits he felt from using marijuana, later appeared in Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s 1971 book, “Marihuana Reconsidered.” Sagan’s identity as the author wasn’t publicly disclosed until 1999, when Keay Davidson published “Carl Sagan: A Life,” which documented Sagan’s writings as his alter-ego, “Mr. X.”
Writing that he’d begun smoking intermittently around 10 years before, Sagan noted that marijuana “amplifies torpid sensibilities and produces what to me are even more interesting effects.”
“The cannabis experience has greatly improved my appreciation for art, a subject which I had never much appreciated before,” he wrote. “The understanding of the intent of the artist which I can achieve when high sometimes carries over to when I’m down. This is one of many human frontiers which cannabis has helped me traverse.”