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A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition


A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition

“A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition” takes a serious look at the legislation that has brought about the end of cannabis prohibition, adding relevant context to current events and a vision of the future. “A New Leaf” could be used as a college textbook in explaining in vivid yet meticulous detail all the players, politicians, funders and legislative loopholes that brought us to where we are today.

Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian paint the most comprehensive and researched picture of the cannabis market to date, from the start of cannabis prohibition to the early beginnings of medical marijuana legislation in California nearly 20 years ago and the evolution of legal cannabis in two states (and more on the way).

But where Martin and Rashidian really succeed is by not sensationalizing the movement and industry, which is sensational in its very existence. They looked beyond storefronts and political campaigns and got to the heart of the issue — Americans desire a legal industry and in passing these laws expect the industry to grow up with each new victory.

And it has.

“A New Leaf” shows that as even outlaws and loophole exploiters joined the market, the community has risen to the challenge by institutionalizing its own best practices such as quality control lab testing, unions and educational institutions. As the industry has grown up and public opinion has increasingly supported it, politicians have (albeit slower than the public) risen to the challenge of defending the will of the people.

At core, the issue is always whether or not people are using cannabis because they find it enjoyable. While even the most conservative politicians — even anti-marijuana groups such as Project SAM — are likely to support cannabis use for the terminally ill, the line between medical and recreational use has been and will always be flimsy at best. “A New Leaf” does not separate cannabis use in these categories, but instead paints them simply as demand for cannabis; a demand the market has met and will continue to meet, regardless of law.

The book ends on an open note. Martin and Rashidian lay out the facts and let the reader muse on what will come next. While “A New Leaf” is, in some ways, a victory lap, it is also a reminder that the war is not yet over, even if a federal truce is in sight.

Originally published in issue 11 of Cannabis Now Magazine.

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