The Weed Runners: Travels with the Outlaw Capitalists of America's Medical Marijuana Trade [NOOK Book]

Overview

Drawing on unparalleled access to sources including lawyers, The Weed Runners is both journalistic exposé and adventure story. There is a vast network fueling the ongoing nationwide explosion of medical marijuana, and this book focuses on an incredibly dynamic three-year period from 2009 to 2012. During that time, marijuana left the world of illegality and blossomed into a mainstream industry, becoming the fastest growing economic engine in California before the feds swooped in and put pot back in its “proper” ...

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The Weed Runners: Travels with the Outlaw Capitalists of America's Medical Marijuana Trade

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Overview

Drawing on unparalleled access to sources including lawyers, The Weed Runners is both journalistic exposé and adventure story. There is a vast network fueling the ongoing nationwide explosion of medical marijuana, and this book focuses on an incredibly dynamic three-year period from 2009 to 2012. During that time, marijuana left the world of illegality and blossomed into a mainstream industry, becoming the fastest growing economic engine in California before the feds swooped in and put pot back in its “proper” place. This fast-moving and exciting account examines the lives of the people involved in today’s marijuana trade as well as recent developments in the federal war on medical marijuana, giving readers a first-hand look at America’s quasi-legal medical marijuana trade.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Since the legalization of medical marijuana in California in 1996, a lack of uniform regulations has made the business climate for dispensaries tempestuous to say the least, and in some cases individuals who trade in illegal drugs or have ties to organized crime are best poised to take advantage of the new market. Investigative journalist Schou (Kill the Messenger) spent three years studying these pioneers, nearly getting arrested himself on more than one occasion. He calls the quilt of local rules and enforcement “a nightmare where nobody benefit,” except corrupt officials. Possession limits have “fluctuated wildly” and penalties are “ever-changing,” while a popular municipal strategy has been to allow the number of dispensaries to skyrocket before passing an ordinance retroactively, charging extortionate licensing fees and pursuing lengthy prison sentences against the owners and employees of any businesses that don’t pay up. Conversely, the veneer of legality is only skin-deep—one licensed grower admits that he sells 95% of his crop on the black market, and admits that “medical marijuana is… a marketing term.” While the vignettes are entertaining, the book was written before a massive crackdown decimated the industry in California, and before Colorado and Washington unexpectedly voted to legalize recreational marijuana. In a brief epilogue, Schou warns smokers and entrepreneurs in those states. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"The Weed Runners is the ultimate ride along; a sharp-eyed trip into the kaleidoscopic world of fantatical growers, righteous stoners, and the tie-dyed enterpreneurs who are turning the War on Drugs upside down and bringing medical marijuana to the people." —Mark Haskell Smith, author Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup 

"For this feverish, wild-eyed, and ever-lapidary engagement of the medical marijuana industry, Nicholas Schou has drawn from his 16 years experience covering this malleable trade.  The result is a book that mimics its unforgettable "characters" (wonderfully nicknamed Racer X, Art Nouveau, Yoga Girl, The Serial Killer, et. al.)— sometimes surprisingly businesslike, often deliciously ragtag, and ever eager to impart unexpected information, anecdote both twitchy and sobering, and, most importantly, the sort of breathless entertainment found in our best political thrillers, except very, very real."— Matthew Gavin Frank, author of Pot Farm and Preparing the Ghost

"The Weed Runners is brilliant journalism - vivid, exciting and important. Schou has the rare gift  of making complicated topic fully human - it lives and breathes in this book.  If you want to understand where this country is in the so-called War On Drugs, The Weed Runners is a must read." —Don Winslow, author of Savages and The Kings of Cool

"...valuable look at the way California’s medical marijuana law and the crackdown against it have affected people of all walks of life."—Kirkus Reviews

"Readers expecting a Hunter Thompson-esque account of pot dealers may be surprised: this is, ultimately, a business book (although one written with panache)." -Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
A portrait of a popular proposition running afoul of federal drug enforcement agencies. When OC Weekly investigative journalist Schou (Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World, 2010, etc.) began his research, medical marijuana had been well-established as legal in California. As a result of Proposition 215, which legalized the use and possession of medical marijuana, dozens of workers at hundreds of local dispensaries were employed, large windfalls in taxes on transactions at marijuana dispensaries were collected, and people with all kinds of ailments were medicated across the state. By the end of Schou's investigation, medical marijuana's legalization was under severe attack from federal and local governments intent on returning to the status quo, when lines were starkly drawn between law enforcement and the underground cannabis economy. Schou's investigation showed that the tensions between law enforcement and "legal" marijuana growers and distributors in California had never truly abated in the decade since the pioneering proposition passed. Anti-marijuana politicians and district attorneys had (with some reason) suspected all along that "medical marijuana" provided an excuse for longtime drug smugglers and dealers to grow their recreational weed businesses under the color of law. One of the most fascinating characters in Schou's story is Lucky, an entrepreneurial dealer and distributor with a state-of-the-art pot farm in the state's Emerald Triangle; his involvement in the weed economy goes back to the early 1980s when he ran with the son of a Mafia don. But Schou also looks at many of the victims of the federal crackdown, people who have tried to comply with often draconian (and corrupt) local laws because of their sincere belief, often from personal experience, in the medicinal powers of marijuana. Occasionally scattershot but valuable look at the way California's medical marijuana law and the crackdown against it have affected people of all walks of life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613744130
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Nicholas Schou is the author of Kill the Messenger and Orange Sunshine. He is an award-winning investigative journalist with OC Weekly who has also written for LA Weekly, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times.

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