The Weed Runners: Travels with the Outlaw Capitalists and Modern-Day Bootleggers of America’s Medical Marijuana Trade

Nicholas Schou. Chicago Review (IPG, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-61374-410-9
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[s],” 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.)
Reviewed on: 06/10/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 226 pages - 978-1-61374-411-6
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-61374-413-0
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-01249-2
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.