A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition

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Overview


In November 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington passed landmark measures to legalize the production and sale of cannabis for social use?a first not only in the United States but also the world. Medical cannabis is now legal in twenty states and Washington, D.C., and more than one million Americans have turned to it in place of conventional pharmaceuticals. Yet the federal government refuses to acknowledge these broader societal shifts and continues to raid and arrest people: 49.5 percent of all drug-related ...
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A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition

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Overview


In November 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington passed landmark measures to legalize the production and sale of cannabis for social use—a first not only in the United States but also the world. Medical cannabis is now legal in twenty states and Washington, D.C., and more than one million Americans have turned to it in place of conventional pharmaceuticals. Yet the federal government refuses to acknowledge these broader societal shifts and continues to raid and arrest people: 49.5 percent of all drug-related arrests involve the sale, manufacture, or possession of cannabis.

In the first book to explore the new landscape of cannabis in the United States, investigative journalists Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian present a deeply researched, insightful story of how recent developments tie into cannabis’s complex history and thorny politics. Reporting from nearly every state with a medical cannabis law, Martin and Rashidian enliven their book with in-depth interviews with patients, growers, doctors, entrepreneurs, politicians, activists, and regulators. They whisk readers from the federal cannabis farm at the University of Mississippi to the headquarters of the ACLU to Oregon’s "World Famous Cannabis Café." They present an expert analysis of how recent milestones toward legalization will affect the war on drugs both domestically and internationally. The result is an unprecedented and lucid account of how legalization is manifesting itself in the lives of millions.

A New Leaf offers an essential guide for anyone who wants to understand the far-ranging implications of this rapidly changing drug landscape.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/23/2013
Investigative journalists Martin and Rashidian offer a carefully researched, accessible survey of current debates about the decriminalization of marijuana. They present the history of cannabis prohibition and explain how the U.S. is currently governed by three different sets of state laws while the Feds, particularly through the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security, continue to enforce the criminal federal laws. The authors look at the arguments regarding medical versus recreational marijuana, internal fights among proponents ("defective legalization or no legalization"), and growing public acceptance of marijuana possession versus strict federal legal guidelines, drug arrests, and imprisonment. In addition, the authors interview patients, nurses, growers, dispenser owners, and activists from states with medical cannabis laws. The result reads as a study of federalism versus state rights. While the authors don't have definitive answers, they make a clear argument that decriminalization of marijuana (now fully legal in Colorado and Washington) will happen in many other states, if not everywhere. Changing marijuana laws doesn't seem as scary a proposition by the end. Agent: Laurie Abkemeier, DeFiore and Company. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

"A cogent, well-sourced, and ambitious analysis of the slow decline of cannabis prohibition in the United States. . . . A piercing work of sociological reportage."
Kirkus Reviews

"Carefully researched [and] accessible. . . . Changing marijuana laws doesn't seem as scary a proposition by the end."
Publishers Weekly

"I thought I knew everything about cannabis and its journey toward legalization. Well, A New Leaf proved me wrong. I emphatically recommend this eye-opening book to everyone, especially those who believe they know the entire story. A must-read."
—Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

"Just in time: Martin and Rashidian bring us the first account of the lively new green economy that is springing up in the wake of marijuana decriminalization and legalization. This is a meticulously reported book and a firm rebuke to the continuing federal prohibition."
—Barbara Ehrenreich

"Nothing less than an indictment of a national disgrace—a must-read for anyone who wants to participate in the urgent conversation about cannabis legalization, drug policy reform, and the assault of the drug war on civil liberties."
—Nadine Strossen

"A comprehensive look at the political and social revolution taking place that is leading to the day when marijuana will inevitably be legal in all fifty states. The authors take us on a journey to meet the people on the front lines of this transformation."
—Dale Maharidge, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning And Their Children After Them and author of Bringing Mulligan Home

"A New Leaf is a wonderful read for anyone who wishes to have a better idea of how dastardly this prohibition has been, particularly in its last years. Fortunately, it is now virtually over, and what we are seeing is a culture desperately trying to find accommodations to this ‘new leaf’ on the block. This read will be valuable in helping the neighbors to achieve a better sense of both its value and its history."
—Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Marijuana Reconsidered and Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine

"Martin and Rashidian have crafted a superb, lucid look at why cannabis prohibition has hurt the world in ways many of us would have never guessed. They put a human face on sterile laws and policies and provide the most up-to-date information on today’s controversies about the plant. They treat readers to an accessible and well-documented explanation of the backhanded and thoughtless way we have arrived at our current predicament and emphasize that thorough and considerate approaches are our only way out."
—Mitch Earleywine, author of Understanding Marijuana

"With great clarity, A New Leaf offers a sweeping and important view of today’s changing attitudes toward marijuana."
—Amy Wilentz, author of The Rainy Season and Farewell, Fred Voodoo 

From the Publisher

"Just in time: Martin and Rashidian bring us the first account of the lively new green economy that is springing up in the wake of marijuana decriminalization and legalization. This is a meticulously reported book and a firm rebuke to the continuing federal prohibition."
—Barbara Ehrenreich

"Nothing less than an indictment of a national disgrace—a must-read for anyone who wants to participate in the urgent conversation about cannabis legalization, drug policy reform, and the assault of the drug war on civil liberties."
—Nadine Strossen

"A comprehensive look at the political and social revolution taking place that is leading to the day when marijuana will inevitably be legal in all fifty states. The authors take us on a journey to meet the people on the front lines of this transformation."
—Dale Maharidge, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning And Their Children After Them and author of Bringing Mulligan Home

"A New Leaf is a wonderful read for anyone who wishes to have a better idea of how dastardly this prohibition has been, particularly in its last years. Fortunately, it is now virtually over, and what we are seeing is a culture desperately trying to find accommodations to this ‘new leaf’ on the block. This read will be valuable in helping the neighbors to achieve a better sense of both its value and its history."
—Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Marijuana Reconsidered and Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine

"Martin and Rashidian have crafted a superb, lucid look at why cannabis prohibition has hurt the world in ways many of us would have never guessed. They put a human face on sterile laws and policies and provide the most up-to-date information on today’s controversies about the plant. They treat readers to an accessible and well-documented explanation of the backhanded and thoughtless way we have arrived at our current predicament and emphasize that thorough and considerate approaches are our only way out."
—Mitch Earleywine, author of Understanding Marijuana

"With great clarity, A New Leaf offers a sweeping and important view of today’s changing attitudes toward marijuana."
—Amy Wilentz, author of The Rainy Season and Farewell, Fred Voodoo 

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-18
How, where and why the United States lost the "War on Drugs." Bill Hicks once cracked, "I loved when Bush came out and said, ‘We are losing the war against drugs.' You know what that implies? There's a war being fought, and the people on drugs are winning it!" Hicks would have loved Martin and Rashidian's cogent, well-sourced and ambitious analysis of the slow decline of cannabis prohibition in the United States. The authors frame the book squarely in the recent passage of Colorado's Amendment 66 and Washington state's Initiative 502, both of which legalized the drug for recreational use during the 2012 elections, and the narrative opens on those victory ceremonies. But then the authors dig deeper with interviews with figures like Valerie Corral, the "Mother Teresa of Pot," who first formed her medical marijuana collective in California two decades ago. There's also Colorado's Mason Tvert, a subversive activist who used the media to deliver his message in a way that made sense to the state's middle class. The authors talked to the activists at Montana Cannabis, where, two years ago, federal agents raided the sedate grow house by coming in with guns blazing. Martin and Rashidian ably ferret out counterintuitive trends, like the fact that much of the opposition to Colorado's law came not from law enforcement but from those involved in the drug trade. They also examine the fallout and blowback of the drug wars, ranging from the brutal violence that continues to plague the Mexican border to the terrifying buildup of the federal prison population to nearly 7 million inmates, a majority felled by drug convictions and many by the illogical "three-strike rule." Not as much fun as Cheech and Chong, but a piercing work of sociological reportage.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595589200
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 233,104
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian are both award-winning journalists. Martin’s work has appeared in the New York Times, The Nation, and the Albany Times Union. Rashidian’s work has been published in the New York Times, The Nation, and Tehran Bureau. This is their first book. They live in New York City.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    The authors provide an incisive examination of the history, poli

    The authors provide an incisive examination of the history, politics, and implications of legalization, which is particularly important at a time when the country's drug and regulatory landscape is rapidly changing. Through investigative journalism and clear-eyed analysis, this book diligently documents recent developments through a mix of memorable interviews with pertinent stakeholders as well as considerable research. Martin and Rashidian manage to provide a comprehensive take on recent milestones in a way that gives the reader an easy understanding of what’s at stake when it comes to such a complex issue. “A New Leaf” is a must-read for any citizen who wants to be informed about the past, present, and future of cannabis prohibition…

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