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Posted April 16, 2012
I am in no way associated with this book, nor have I ever known Mr. Baker.
“Stop Toking” is not a compilation of research pointing to the harmful long- or short-term effects of cannabis use.
It is not a denial that cannabis can be of help to those with genuinely serious medical conditions.
It is not an attack on those who seem so devoted to convincing people who are not seriously ill that getting stoned on a regular basis has psychological, intellectual or emotional benefits.
It is not an argument for prohibition.
It is not a judgment or indictment of those who freely choose to use cannabis.
It is not a rehash or pirating of what can be found in existing 12 Step literature.
It is not an attempt to cash in on human suffering with a brand-new-one-size-fits-all “cure” available to a privileged few for a considerable sum of money.
If your position on any of the above has you ready to argue, don’t bother reading the rest of this review. This book is no threat to you, or anyone you are determined to influence.
The subhead “Smoking too much dope?” is a very simple question to be asked within the confines of your own mind and heart.
If you feel compelled to answer “yes,” you will find what follows that question to be a very simple series of ideas, laid out with great clarity.
You will not be asked to uncover, relive or resolve the ways life has hurt you or the ways you have hurt others.
You will not be told to label yourself an addict, expected to summon up superhuman amounts of willpower or cajoled into accepting a spiritual practice or viewpoint.
On the other hand, you will not be tapped with a fairy wand that makes the problems you believe cannabis use is creating for you vanish.
You will also not be coddled into the notions that cutting back, quitting for a while or having the “inevitable” fall are quite good enough.
The urge to intoxicate yourself with marijuana in its many available forms may very well never leave you completely. It may also leave you for very long periods and then resurface unexpectedly.
But this little toolkit can be used to build the solid foundation of a new cannabis-free inner home. And in times of heavy rain, it can be reopened to keep a trickle of irrational urges and obsessive ideas from bringing the whole roof down.
It’s a pretty short book, truth be told. But the Tao Te Ching isn’t exactly Moby Dick either, and yet every time one returns to it there’s still fresh water in the well.
As with many other self-published and digital books, Mr. Baker’s work would have benefited from serious proofreading. It is essential that, as publishing enters what seems to be a post-paper age, we do not sacrifice the kind of literacy traditional publishing has always preserved.
But that is no reason to give a well-intentioned and well-executed effort like this less than the highest possible rating.
Good work, Mr. Baker.