How earnest hippies, frightened parents, suffering patients, and other ordinary Americans went to war over marijuana
In the last five years, eight states have legalized recreational marijuana. To many, continued progress seems certain. But pot was on a similar trajectory forty years ago, only to encounter a fierce backlash. In Grass Roots, historian Emily Dufton tells the remarkable story of marijuana's crooked path from acceptance to demonization and back again, and of the thousands of grassroots activists who made changing marijuana laws their life's work.
During the 1970s, pro-pot campaigners with roots in the counterculture secured the drug's decriminalization in a dozen states. Soon, though, concerned parents began to mobilize; finding a champion in Nancy Reagan, they transformed pot into a national scourge and helped to pave the way for an aggressive war on drugs. Chastened marijuana advocates retooled their message, promoting pot as a medical necessity and eventually declaring legalization a matter of racial justice. For the moment, these activists are succeedingbut marijuana's history suggests how swiftly another counterrevolution could unfold.
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About the Author
Emily Dufton holds a PhD in American Studies from George Washington University. She lives outside of Washington, DC.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Higher Calling 1
Chapter 1 "Forward, All Smokers!" 11
Chapter 2 Its Norml to Smoke Pot 29
Chapter 3 Marijuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding 45
Chapter 4 "You Won't Have to Be Paranoid Anymore!" 57
Chapter 5 "I'm Like a Bottle Maker During Prohibition" 73
Chapter 6 Atlanta, 1976 89
Chapter 7 The Downfall of Peter Bourne 107
Chapter 8 The Coming Parent Revolution 123
Chapter 9 "The Most Potent Force There Is" 143
Chapter 10 The Truth Behind Just Say No 165
Chapter 11 Crack Update 189
Chapter 12 "The Florence Nightingale of Medical Marijuana" 207
Chapter 13 A Social Justice Issue 225
Conclusion: Lessons Learned 249