Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America
This is a book about marijuana legalization, why it's happening, and what it looks like from the inside. In 2012 I voted for legalization, reluctantly and skeptically, in my home state of Washington. I spent the next three years following its rollout and investigating the long strange history of cannabis in America. What I discovered--both in the past and the present--changed my life. It may do the same for you.
Here's one of my favorite Amazon reader reviews:
"Like the author, I’d scorned pot and pot culture since the day I quit the stuff. But within a few pages of Weed The People, my framework had been upended, and by the end, I’d been forced to rethink most of what I thought I knew about cannabis. Barcott not only lays out the political and legal contradictions of Pot Prohibition; he also shows how legalizing pot, and exposing pot culture to the discipline and expectations and logic of the marketplace just might wring out the culture’s seamier side. He doesn’t gloss over the risks. There is a long chapter on the ongoing question about pot and teenage schizophrenia (conclusion – we’re still trying to understand whether the connection is causal or simple a correlation), and plenty of info on the still-evolving edibles market. But these risks are put in the context of broader social and political benefits that may well come from allowing people to make their own decisions about a drug no more harmful (and probably a lot less harmful) than booze or tobacco.
As a bonus, Weed the People is a serious pleasure to read. Where a lot of writing on pot legalization is either hyper-sanctimonious or ultra-bro, “Weed the People” strikes a nice balance. No shortage of technical detail and history (really, really interesting history – like, s*** you will not believe happened, IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY). But there is also enough personal perspective and, yes, humor (though, thankfully, un-bro) that you can readily identify with the characters and the larger narrative. The accounts of the “suits” – non-pot-smoking business people—investing in marijuana are both hilarious and enlightening: business, it seems, is business. As are the descriptions of Barcott’s own “research.” The scribbled notes from his hotel room session room are priceless. And I found riveting the clash between Barcott’s research and his own mainstream, middle-aged family life. (“Could the dog smell the pot?” he wonders, as he passes a police dog after visiting a dispensary. And what to tell his kids?) And as a parent, I quite appreciated the account of his efforts to talk about drugs with his own teenage kids.
This book doesn’t make me want to do my own experimenting; Barcott leaves no doubt that today’s varieties are orders of magnitude more potent than what I was accustomed to. But he does make it a lot easier not to judge those who do."