cover image A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition

A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition

Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian. New Press, $17.95 trade paper ISBN 978-1-59558-920-0

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.)