You can credit Ed Rosenthal as the man who made US cannabis the best in the world. In 1977, he and Mel Frank coauthored The Marijuana Growers Guide, and within a few harvest seasons, America’s legions of devoted pot growers had grown, somewhat covertly, from coast to coast. Since then, Rosenthal’s Marijuana Grower’s Handbook has become the go-to guide for cannabis production, inspiring many people to learn the best cultivation methods.
Known to many as the Guru of Ganja, Rosenthal’s books serve as Oaksterdam University’s official textbooks. He also teaches students various methods for increasing the output and effectiveness of their gardens.
Since the first publication of The Marijuana Growers Guide, Rosenthal has written a library’s worth of books on cannabis and cultivation. Widely regarded as the world’s leading expert on the cultivation of cannabis, he has sold well more than a million copies of his books, including The Big Book Of Buds series: Marijuana Garden Saver, Best Of Ask Ed and Cannabis Grower’s Handbook.
Rosenthal is more than a well-known author and expert in cannabis horticulture. He’s a social activist who supported legalization early on, aggressively campaigned and created civil regulating policies for medical marijuana. The International Cannabis Business Conference, Green Aid: The Medical Marijuana Legal Defense and Education Fund, a 501(c)(3), The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam and Quick Trading Publishing, a company dedicated to publishing the most accurate, up-to-date cannabis education, are just a few of the many successful socially responsible cannabis organizations Rosenthal has established.
After California’s groundbreaking Proposition 215 authorized medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes in 1996, Rosenthal collaborated with the federal, state and municipal governments to administer the distribution of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis to patients with a doctor’s authorization to consume cannabis. In 1999, he was appointed “Officer of the City of Oakland” and directed to cultivate cannabis for patients.
Just three years later, in 2002, Rosenthal was arrested for the cultivation of cannabis by federal agents. The federal government didn’t recognize the authority of states to regulate the use of medical marijuana and shut down his city-supported facility. Rosenthal was found guilty, but some jurors questioned their decision after learning that Rosenthal was representing the City of Oakland, information hidden from them throughout the trial. In 2006, the 9th Circuit Appeals Court overturned Rosenthal’s conviction. But the feds weren’t finished. Months later, Rosenthal was reindicted, and once again, the jury was kept from hearing the information that Rosenthal’s operation was sanctioned by Oakland officials.
Ed Rosenthal received no additional jail time and his highly publicized trials changed public opinion in support of state medical marijuana laws, bringing to light for many the truth that cannabis laws are more detrimental to society than anything else.
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.