Sasha Shulgin, R.I.P.

Wingnuts were for recovering Bergdahl before they were against it.

Sasha Shulgin died yesterday, peacefully, at home, at the age of 88. He was a chemist, a musician, a writer, a thinker, and an incorrigible punster. He was brilliant, funny, and brave.

Here’s what I had to say about Sasha and Ann a couple of years ago.

The question of how to make use of the hallucinogens – to get their indisputable benefits, and not just in “medical” use, while limiting their equally indisputable risks – is one on which the serious debate has yet to start. If and when it gets appropriately resolved – and I am far more hopeful about that than I was twenty years ago, though still not in the short run –  “Shulgin” will be a name that the history books treat the way they treat “Pasteur.”

Update Two excellent published obits (to go along with a huge outpouring of blogged and tweeted material): one from the New York Times, one by Jon Hanna on the Erowid site.  The positive tone of the Times piece provides strong evidence of the change in attitudes toward the hallucinogens, at least a the elite level.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: