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Cannabis: An American History (SelfMadeHero Non-Fiction)

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In the 16th century, during his violent colonial campaign, Cortés introduced hemp farming to Mexico. In secret, locals began cultivating the plant for consumption. Cannabis made its way to the United States by means of the immigrant labour force. Once the plant had been shared with black labourers, it didn't take long for American lawmakers to decry cannabis as the vice of In the 16th century, during his violent colonial campaign, Cortés introduced hemp farming to Mexico. In secret, locals began cultivating the plant for consumption. Cannabis made its way to the United States by means of the immigrant labour force. Once the plant had been shared with black labourers, it didn't take long for American lawmakers to decry cannabis as the vice of "inferior races". Enter an era of propaganda designed to whip up fear among the public. Dishonest and discriminatory campaigns, spearheaded by legislators and the press, spread vicious lies about a plant that had been used by humanity for thousands of years. The result: cannabis was given a schedule 1 classification, alongside heroin. In this entertaining and expertly crafted graphic novel, Box Brown offers a rich, persuasive and eye-opening guide to the complex and troubled history of cannabis in America.


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In the 16th century, during his violent colonial campaign, Cortés introduced hemp farming to Mexico. In secret, locals began cultivating the plant for consumption. Cannabis made its way to the United States by means of the immigrant labour force. Once the plant had been shared with black labourers, it didn't take long for American lawmakers to decry cannabis as the vice of In the 16th century, during his violent colonial campaign, Cortés introduced hemp farming to Mexico. In secret, locals began cultivating the plant for consumption. Cannabis made its way to the United States by means of the immigrant labour force. Once the plant had been shared with black labourers, it didn't take long for American lawmakers to decry cannabis as the vice of "inferior races". Enter an era of propaganda designed to whip up fear among the public. Dishonest and discriminatory campaigns, spearheaded by legislators and the press, spread vicious lies about a plant that had been used by humanity for thousands of years. The result: cannabis was given a schedule 1 classification, alongside heroin. In this entertaining and expertly crafted graphic novel, Box Brown offers a rich, persuasive and eye-opening guide to the complex and troubled history of cannabis in America.

30 review for Cannabis: An American History (SelfMadeHero Non-Fiction)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    Cannibis: The Illegalization of Weed in America is by the irrepressibly likeable Box Brown, who makes comics on anything he pleases (which is how I read, just anything at random, basically, so you go, Box!), from Tetris to Andy Kaufmann to marijuana, which he researches pretty deeply and then writes a graphic essay about. Most of the facts and history he shares I basically know, that the US of A in particular has had a long, weird relationship to the drug, which it has for decades demonized as " Cannibis: The Illegalization of Weed in America is by the irrepressibly likeable Box Brown, who makes comics on anything he pleases (which is how I read, just anything at random, basically, so you go, Box!), from Tetris to Andy Kaufmann to marijuana, which he researches pretty deeply and then writes a graphic essay about. Most of the facts and history he shares I basically know, that the US of A in particular has had a long, weird relationship to the drug, which it has for decades demonized as "gateway drug," and as a substance that makes you insane, even violent. Most of that history of making marijuana in particular illegal has to with the propensity of freedom-loving right-wingers (they love their freedom, not yours) to police people’s personal habits regarding something that research has proven is nothing as close to dangerous as heroin or opiods. And now state by state we see it legalized for at least medical purposes, which is something we knew was viable 100 years ago but never acted on it because we needed to incarcerate (cf. Nixon, tens of thousands of “hippies” and blacks and Mexicans he knew didn’t like him or his policies). And the Reagans? Just say no? Ugh, what a vapid useless policy. But really folks, how can we help tax the production of marijuana so corporate America can make billions from it? Since I already knew much of this stuff (Reefer Madness, and so on; there are SO many books about pot out there!) it was less fun or interesting than, let’s say, smoking it or baking it in a nice pan of brownies. But l am a person “from the sixties," whom we presume knows a bit about this drug. So if you know nothing about pot history, here’s your informative (and sometimes amusing) book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    Outstanding look at the process by which cannabis became illegal - a timely book that is front and center today as the issue of legalization in the US is hotly debated.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    The title of this one pretty much says it all. This is a history in comics form of cannabis and the factors that went into making it illegal in the US. With so many states legalizing it for medical and/or recreational use in recent years, it's a timely subject. And the racial and immigration issues that helped spur the public furor that led to the ban also resonate with current events. Brown has written a solid, well thought out book here. He does a good job of debunking many of the myths associa The title of this one pretty much says it all. This is a history in comics form of cannabis and the factors that went into making it illegal in the US. With so many states legalizing it for medical and/or recreational use in recent years, it's a timely subject. And the racial and immigration issues that helped spur the public furor that led to the ban also resonate with current events. Brown has written a solid, well thought out book here. He does a good job of debunking many of the myths associated with marijauna usage. His art is just the right amount of minimalist. There's really not a lot to say about this. I found the book to be engaging, informative, and fun. Yes, it comes off as pro-marijuana, but I don't see that that's a bad thing. He makes a convincing case for legalization, but I’ll admit that my sympathies have always been in that direction anyway. Recommended!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    Interesting, entertaining, eye-opening graphic novel exploring the history of cannabis's legal status in the US --and (not surprisingly) how much of the outrage over cannabis was tied to racism and lies. Interesting, entertaining, eye-opening graphic novel exploring the history of cannabis's legal status in the US --and (not surprisingly) how much of the outrage over cannabis was tied to racism and lies.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    I'll be upfront and admit to being a total square: I've never done illegal drugs, had eight alcoholic drinks over four years in college and decided that was enough of that, and have never felt the need to redeem the pain pill prescriptions given to me after root canals. My family has a history of alcohol abuse, so I went the sugar addiction route instead (which is, of course, not without its own problems). That said, I support drug legalization because I believe that prohibition acts as more of a I'll be upfront and admit to being a total square: I've never done illegal drugs, had eight alcoholic drinks over four years in college and decided that was enough of that, and have never felt the need to redeem the pain pill prescriptions given to me after root canals. My family has a history of alcohol abuse, so I went the sugar addiction route instead (which is, of course, not without its own problems). That said, I support drug legalization because I believe that prohibition acts as more of a multiplier of the pain and suffering related to their use rather than a means of preventing it. It should be a regulated and taxed industry with the revenues used to fund research of its positive and negative effects, substance abuse programs and drug awareness campaigns. So I went into this book expecting to agree with a lot of it. Brown effectively exposes the lies and rumors and racism that have intertwined with marijuana's demonization. While the first part is a bit irreverent and fun, reaching back into Hindu mythology, the historical narrative gets bogged down in the 1930s as we spend too long on the federal bureaucrat who criminalized cannabis for his own personal advancement. The back end of the book feels a bit rushed as it summarizes the start of the medical marijuana and legalization movements. My main criticism is Brown goes overboard in proclaiming how wonderful cannabis is, not acknowledging recent studies that show links to schizophrenia and negative impact on cognitive development in teens or touching on the consequences of driving while under the influence. If you recognize his biases and blindspots, the book is enjoyable and informative.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Majkut

    Historical graphic novel sweep of hemp/cannabis/marijuana use beginning with the introduction of hemp seeds by Hernan Cortes in 1519 to Mexico. Includes details about religious usage throughout history in India and the fervor of American 'Just-Say-No' folks in the last century in the US. Much like Anthony Comstock championing obscenities and anti-vice in the same era, cannabis has its own virulent opposition in government employee Harry Anslinger. Anslinger actively pursued cannabis prohibition Historical graphic novel sweep of hemp/cannabis/marijuana use beginning with the introduction of hemp seeds by Hernan Cortes in 1519 to Mexico. Includes details about religious usage throughout history in India and the fervor of American 'Just-Say-No' folks in the last century in the US. Much like Anthony Comstock championing obscenities and anti-vice in the same era, cannabis has its own virulent opposition in government employee Harry Anslinger. Anslinger actively pursued cannabis prohibition and and was integral in getting it classified as a Schedule I drug. Anslinger found support in William Randolph Hearst - who encouraged Anslinger's use of the media to propel the myth of 'reefer madness' through the use of police files detailing savagery caused by cannabis consumption. Anslinger actively targeted Mexicans, blacks and jazz musicians with mass arrests as those responsible for cannabis dens causing the breakdown of American society.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Liz Yerby

    Well researched, and well written this informative content really explained a lot of things I should have already known. Box browns style is made for nonfiction, and this is probably his most impactful book yet in my eyes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Garden

    What a fun fun informative read. And fun!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ed Erwin

    Ok. I knew most of this already, at least in the large brush strokes. I wasn't aware of the enormous influence, if the facts here are correct, of Harry Anslinger. From this book it almost seems like he single-handedly affected drug policy in the USA and UN. Ok. I knew most of this already, at least in the large brush strokes. I wasn't aware of the enormous influence, if the facts here are correct, of Harry Anslinger. From this book it almost seems like he single-handedly affected drug policy in the USA and UN.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America by Box Brown genuinely delivers on its title. I feel like I actually have a pretty decent understanding of the history of the legality of cannabis in the US. I knew OF a lot of the stuff in this book, but I didn't know a lot ABOUT it. The general basics of a lot of it was very familiar to me (Nixon and Reagan being The Worst, early roots in racism, AIDS activists helping gain access for medical use, etc) but so many specific details were lost on me Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America by Box Brown genuinely delivers on its title. I feel like I actually have a pretty decent understanding of the history of the legality of cannabis in the US. I knew OF a lot of the stuff in this book, but I didn't know a lot ABOUT it. The general basics of a lot of it was very familiar to me (Nixon and Reagan being The Worst, early roots in racism, AIDS activists helping gain access for medical use, etc) but so many specific details were lost on me, especially when it came to details from the first half of the twentieth century. The information is presented in a really crisp way that makes it easy to understand and digest and still manage to be incredibly informative. Anyone interested in the topic should definitely be giving this a read (although perhaps those with a better understanding of the specific history than I have may find they learn less from this than I do, as it IS an introduction).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Award-winning graphic novelist Box Brown is back with the real story of how cannabis - weed, marijuana, reefer - went from being a plant used for spiritual purposes to being labeled a gateway drug that caused "reefer madness". How did it happen, you say? Racism. Politics. Propaganda. Scare tactics. The usual song and dance. Box Brown has done his research and, combined with his minimalist artwork, presents a tale that will have you seeing the politics of marijuana (the origin of that name is in Award-winning graphic novelist Box Brown is back with the real story of how cannabis - weed, marijuana, reefer - went from being a plant used for spiritual purposes to being labeled a gateway drug that caused "reefer madness". How did it happen, you say? Racism. Politics. Propaganda. Scare tactics. The usual song and dance. Box Brown has done his research and, combined with his minimalist artwork, presents a tale that will have you seeing the politics of marijuana (the origin of that name is in here, too, and it's a doozy) in an entirely new light. The War on Drugs started long before Nancy Reagan went on Diff'rent Strokes and told kids to "just say no", and the fallout has targeted minorities - primarily young black men - and left thousands imprisoned for minor infractions. Studies have purposely included falsified data and allowed Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, to perpetuate his war against narcotics by weaponizing moral outrage and using propaganda to get the plant a schedule 1 classification, putting it on par with heroin. Ignatz Award winner Box Brown has a gift for nonfiction. While he's primarily done biographical graphic novels thus far, including Andre the Giant, Andy Kaufman, and the rise of the video game Tetris, Cannabis is a thoroughly researched, fully realized, history of marijuana, from its earliest recorded uses through the present day. It's a good add for your young adult/new adult collections and could be a good selection for a book group, especially with its increasing legality and medicinal usage.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    I know Brown through his Retrofit imprint mainly ,although I’ve read his 3 other historical non-fiction graphic novels through First Second. The art is simple yet effective in a John Porcellino way. We get bogged down a little in Hindu history at the start but generally this is a well researched book as evidenced by the extensive bibliography. Pot is legal in my country and my teenage son argues that it’s safer than booze. I agree with him but...I’ve read articles about not using it until age 25 I know Brown through his Retrofit imprint mainly ,although I’ve read his 3 other historical non-fiction graphic novels through First Second. The art is simple yet effective in a John Porcellino way. We get bogged down a little in Hindu history at the start but generally this is a well researched book as evidenced by the extensive bibliography. Pot is legal in my country and my teenage son argues that it’s safer than booze. I agree with him but...I’ve read articles about not using it until age 25 because of brain development and schizophrenia. I agree with my son about the safety issues vs booze but why pick one or the other ? I’m a sober man. I don’t smoke pot although tried it at university. What enraged me in this book was Anslinger’s lies, deceptions and outright racism. Brutal systemic racism. 5 stars , although Box could use some objective journalism training as his gushing positive support of cannabis bleeds through the whole book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sonic

    The unchecked prejudice towards a plant shows just how brainless and unquestioning prejudicial attitudes are. And yes there is and always has been a direct connection to racism itself. If you are intelligent and conscientious then you are probably concerned about racism right now, which in North America is a very deep and very serious problem. And if you are capable of critical thinking you might have already asked "Why has Cannabis been called 'marijuanna' for decades by the U.S. government and The unchecked prejudice towards a plant shows just how brainless and unquestioning prejudicial attitudes are. And yes there is and always has been a direct connection to racism itself. If you are intelligent and conscientious then you are probably concerned about racism right now, which in North America is a very deep and very serious problem. And if you are capable of critical thinking you might have already asked "Why has Cannabis been called 'marijuanna' for decades by the U.S. government and the Media?" Basically there has always been such a stupid racist prejudice against Mexicans that William Randolph Hearst the father of "Yellow Journalism" thought calling Cannabis by it's Mexican nickname would demonize and vilify the plant. It worked. This combined with the outright lies that the herb kills brain-cells, and is a gateway drug, or that it has no medicinal value, have kept the prejudice going. And it has fueled the criminal enterprise of America's corrupt prison system in an effort to oppress people of color. The medicinal and industrial applications for this amazing plant are significant and diverse. I recommend this wonderful book by Box Brown. I also recommend "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" by Jack Herer Can we identify implicit bias in ourselves? Am I prejudiced towards a medicinal plant?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Rutherford

    Interesting history, but I felt the end was a bit weak.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Previous volumes by the author promised (and delivered) an interesting and accessible look at their subjects, but this is a just a diatribe dressed up with cartoons - a black and white world where there is no downside to drug use and anyone who disagrees is racist. That's not a glib line. Literally everyone who doesn't love drugs in the book is portrayed as overtly, unrepentantly racist. So....think about the intellectual power of the people who throw that term around at their opponents and judg Previous volumes by the author promised (and delivered) an interesting and accessible look at their subjects, but this is a just a diatribe dressed up with cartoons - a black and white world where there is no downside to drug use and anyone who disagrees is racist. That's not a glib line. Literally everyone who doesn't love drugs in the book is portrayed as overtly, unrepentantly racist. So....think about the intellectual power of the people who throw that term around at their opponents and judge accordingly.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    3.5 stars, but I'll round up. While much of the information was not revelatory, it was interesting and well laid out. The degree to which cannabis was demonized along racist paths, and, to a lesser extent, simply to further the career of a dogmatic man, makes me sad. I wish there had been a little more information about the truth, with research and therapeutic effects, rather than focusing on how much of the propaganda was lies. 3.5 stars, but I'll round up. While much of the information was not revelatory, it was interesting and well laid out. The degree to which cannabis was demonized along racist paths, and, to a lesser extent, simply to further the career of a dogmatic man, makes me sad. I wish there had been a little more information about the truth, with research and therapeutic effects, rather than focusing on how much of the propaganda was lies.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Lucero

    This nonfiction graphic novel explores the history of cannabis use and its connection to racism, propaganda, and politics. I knew a lot of this from watching the documentary Grass is Greener, but it was informative nonetheless with some new-to-me information, such as the significance of cannabis on religious rituals in India. The overall takeaway, however: racism is as American as apple pie and it's infuriating. 😠 This nonfiction graphic novel explores the history of cannabis use and its connection to racism, propaganda, and politics. I knew a lot of this from watching the documentary Grass is Greener, but it was informative nonetheless with some new-to-me information, such as the significance of cannabis on religious rituals in India. The overall takeaway, however: racism is as American as apple pie and it's infuriating. 😠

  18. 5 out of 5

    Raina

    Box Brown's thing works well for stories that feel niche. I've read Brown's biographical work on Andre the Giant, and telling of the history of Tetris. Both of those stories were relatively unknown to me. While I'm certainly no Cannabis History expert, I live in one of the earliest states to legalize recreational weed. In the debate around that process in our state, I've personally heard more about this than about the other topics Brown has covered. It is also a supercharged topic for many, and Box Brown's thing works well for stories that feel niche. I've read Brown's biographical work on Andre the Giant, and telling of the history of Tetris. Both of those stories were relatively unknown to me. While I'm certainly no Cannabis History expert, I live in one of the earliest states to legalize recreational weed. In the debate around that process in our state, I've personally heard more about this than about the other topics Brown has covered. It is also a supercharged topic for many, and I've known people intimately familiar with and passionate about both sides of the issue. Here, Brown's detached, seemingly-facts-only approach didn't quite work for me. Brown has a pretty clear agenda, which could be fine, but never really came out and stated that agenda in the book. Things felt a little scattered, a little charged, and ultimately, I was left side-eyeing the whole effort. I absolutely think there's a place in the world for a graphic novel history of cannabis, but this one didn't quite hit the mark for me. Extra star for the effort and need for content on this topic.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bonheur

    Good novel covering the origins and history of this plant, then the propaganda and misconceptions that tried to demonize and exaggerate the dangers of this plant. There's a lot of history of the false claims made against the plant and the efforts to conflate it with demonizing immigrants and fear mongering in society against minorities. It's a good example of the kind of false claim campaigns that happen for many subjects: there are ulterior motives, urges for power and to keep jobs, to force onl Good novel covering the origins and history of this plant, then the propaganda and misconceptions that tried to demonize and exaggerate the dangers of this plant. There's a lot of history of the false claims made against the plant and the efforts to conflate it with demonizing immigrants and fear mongering in society against minorities. It's a good example of the kind of false claim campaigns that happen for many subjects: there are ulterior motives, urges for power and to keep jobs, to force only a certain type of view, and efforts to sway public opinion through misinformation. That being said, this book focuses more on the history of the demonization campaign itself (like it says in the title) versus a deep dive of all pros and cons of this plant for medicinal, therapeutic and recreational purposes. When you read all the efforts of how big the misinformation campaigns were, I personally have a lot more respect for all the activists who have successfully changed public perception of the plant.

  20. 4 out of 5

    J.T.

    Having never smoked weed, I am probably not the target audience for this book. But, I love most everything Box puts out, so I read it anyway. He delves into why a seemingly innocuous plant ended up getting so much negative attention and causing so many to be heavily penalized for having it (hint: racism). This book is by no means unbiased journalism, but it seems fairly obvious that marijuana has lots of beneficial medicinal qualities and was vilified on false pretenses. I went to a reading here Having never smoked weed, I am probably not the target audience for this book. But, I love most everything Box puts out, so I read it anyway. He delves into why a seemingly innocuous plant ended up getting so much negative attention and causing so many to be heavily penalized for having it (hint: racism). This book is by no means unbiased journalism, but it seems fairly obvious that marijuana has lots of beneficial medicinal qualities and was vilified on false pretenses. I went to a reading here in NYC, and Box talked about the current trend of legalization in America. You'd think it would be a good thing, but of course crass capitalism is making it more about corporations making money than making sure those in need have affordable access. To be honest, I didn't enjoy this book as much as Andre The Giant, Tetris or Is This Guy For Real, but he did manage to make a subject I have little interest in interesting by focusing primarily on one government official responsible for demonizing marijuana and the racism behind this demonization.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Blok

    I figured I should know something about the history of pot in America. (There are so many things in American history I should know.) So, I grabbed this book after hearing it recommended somewhere (though I can't remember where. A podcast, surely). It's a pretty thorough story of the history of cannabis in America, as far as I can tell. Given the history of drug enforcement in America, it's not surprising to see that the history of cannabis in America is pretty wrapped up in the history of race i I figured I should know something about the history of pot in America. (There are so many things in American history I should know.) So, I grabbed this book after hearing it recommended somewhere (though I can't remember where. A podcast, surely). It's a pretty thorough story of the history of cannabis in America, as far as I can tell. Given the history of drug enforcement in America, it's not surprising to see that the history of cannabis in America is pretty wrapped up in the history of race in America. I don't imagine this book will cause anyone to change sides in the debate over legalization, but it provides a lot of helpful history and context. And, it's told in an easy-to-read graphic novel format, to boot.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I read an ARC from First Second via NetGalley. This graphic novel for teens and adults covers the history and illegalization of weed in the US. Black and white panels and minimal text that’s not overwhelming make it easy to learn about a topic that could be confusing. There is a lot of politics here and the associated race insensitivity, moral panic, war on drugs and associated propaganda aligned with specific political agendas. Have you ever wondered how weed got labeled as a gateway drug, you I read an ARC from First Second via NetGalley. This graphic novel for teens and adults covers the history and illegalization of weed in the US. Black and white panels and minimal text that’s not overwhelming make it easy to learn about a topic that could be confusing. There is a lot of politics here and the associated race insensitivity, moral panic, war on drugs and associated propaganda aligned with specific political agendas. Have you ever wondered how weed got labeled as a gateway drug, you will learn about that in this book. Overall, very informative but the ending was abrupt. I thought the author could have went deeper into medical marijuana. Also, he did not tackle the current legalization of weed and how some states have legal recreational use and others consider it criminal. Maybe there will be a follow up book... Box Brown writes about topics that interest people in a very readable way.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cy

    a pretty good overview, though the pacing was a little off....like other reviewers have said, it gets a little bogged down with detail in the 1930s, and then the very end, from the rise of medical marijuana in the 80s to the rise of legalization in the current day, it seems really rushed. i was looking at how many pages were left, thinking "how can he possibly fit the last 30 years into this small amount of space??" i also found it hard to tell dialogue from captions in a lot of places. and i was a pretty good overview, though the pacing was a little off....like other reviewers have said, it gets a little bogged down with detail in the 1930s, and then the very end, from the rise of medical marijuana in the 80s to the rise of legalization in the current day, it seems really rushed. i was looking at how many pages were left, thinking "how can he possibly fit the last 30 years into this small amount of space??" i also found it hard to tell dialogue from captions in a lot of places. and i was expecting it to have more of a focus on the racism of marijuana moral panic. it did mention racism frequently, but it didn't really go in-depth, and it wasn't as much of a focus as i expected, given the synopsis on the back of the book. if goodreads had half stars i guess i would give this a 3.5. but i bumped it up because i really appreciate that the book exists at all, even if it isn't perfect.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Lorenz

    Box Brown turns over another piece of history to reveal it's secret history. I think I'd ready pretty much anything Box Brown produces. I loved Andre the Giant and got sucked in to Tetris. I wasn't sure that I'd like or appreciate Cannabis, but I was wrong. Brown's simple line drawing and matter-of-fact writing style make clear muddled history. I think this is a timely book, not just because there are recreational cannabis laws popping up on ballots across the country, but also because we're con Box Brown turns over another piece of history to reveal it's secret history. I think I'd ready pretty much anything Box Brown produces. I loved Andre the Giant and got sucked in to Tetris. I wasn't sure that I'd like or appreciate Cannabis, but I was wrong. Brown's simple line drawing and matter-of-fact writing style make clear muddled history. I think this is a timely book, not just because there are recreational cannabis laws popping up on ballots across the country, but also because we're continually being faced with dissembling politicians trotting out "scientific facts" and "polls" to support whatever legislation they're being paid to support.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

    I received this book from NetGalley. I love graphic histories and this is a well-done one. Box Brown tells the story of the global history of cannabis before leading into the history of prohibition in the United States and around the world.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Clear and well presented accounting of the bigoted and insidious drive to punish (especially marginalized) people for a vice much less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol. Box's work is always fantastic. Clear and well presented accounting of the bigoted and insidious drive to punish (especially marginalized) people for a vice much less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol. Box's work is always fantastic.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jess Smiley

    Fairly topical overview of the modern history of marijuana in legislation, culture, and medicine. Brown does a great job in introducing points and individuals that spark interest in further reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    J. Bradley

    This is a really fascinating read on how America manufactured the war on drugs, especially cannabis, despite all scientific proof that marijuana isn’t dangerous.

  29. 5 out of 5

    James

    For one reason or another, I fell out of love with reading for a year. My fiancee gave me this graphic novel as a gift, knowing my love for cartoons and penchant for recreational cannabis (also knowing that comics are the best way to get a large child back into reading). Five minutes after starting this book, I was in love again. 'Cannabis' outlines how weed found its way into America, and how its public perception was altered by ulterior motives. I enjoyed everything about this book. The art sty For one reason or another, I fell out of love with reading for a year. My fiancee gave me this graphic novel as a gift, knowing my love for cartoons and penchant for recreational cannabis (also knowing that comics are the best way to get a large child back into reading). Five minutes after starting this book, I was in love again. 'Cannabis' outlines how weed found its way into America, and how its public perception was altered by ulterior motives. I enjoyed everything about this book. The art style is pleasing but does not impinge on the text. The facts are presented *relatively* even handedly, with sources cited at the end (first time I've read a comic with sources!). Brown uses humour very well; whether written or visual, it sits parallel to the text, careful not to edge into satire. Thanks B x

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Turko

    Another fascinating read. The title pretty much gives the summary away and starts off with an introduction of hemp seeds by Hernan Cortes. From there the book goes into the religious usage of the plant from India to the 'Just-say-no' era of the United States in the last century. Brown's art style is perfect for the story and his writing was very eye-opening for me when he went into the outrage over the illegalization of cannabis and how the legal status of it was tied to blatant lies and racism. Another fascinating read. The title pretty much gives the summary away and starts off with an introduction of hemp seeds by Hernan Cortes. From there the book goes into the religious usage of the plant from India to the 'Just-say-no' era of the United States in the last century. Brown's art style is perfect for the story and his writing was very eye-opening for me when he went into the outrage over the illegalization of cannabis and how the legal status of it was tied to blatant lies and racism. Its well researched and well written my only wish is that Brown made a whole novel out of this. I wish the book contained a little more information about research and therapeutic effects, along with the focus on the propaganda behind illegalizing it. Still, this is a wonderful nonfiction comic that goes into the history and politics of cannabis.

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