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Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific
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Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  287 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
A bestselling author of Acid Dreams tells the great American pot story— a panoramic, character-driven saga that examines the medical, recreational, scientific, and economic dimensions of the world’s most controversial plant.

Martin A. Lee traces the dramatic social history of marijuana from its origins to its emergence in the 1960s as a defining force in a culture war that
ebook, 528 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Scribner (first published July 17th 2012)
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Mark Jr.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2016
Indefatigable. Argument by avalanche. That's the method here. Story after anecdote after study after reason why cannabis should not only be legalized but recognized for the panacea that it is.

But Martin Lee's journalistic prose style doesn't sound like something coming from a crackpot (or a pothead). If there isn't much life, or any humor whatsoever, in his dogged prose, there is skill and there is clarity.

What isn't clear, what never really seems to get addressed, is why, in the face of "ample
Michael Shore
This book was frustrating.
Whilst the historical accounts are fascinating at times, the author is incredibly bias and it clearly shows.
This does not feel like a balanced journalistic survey, rather like a weed loving advocate preaching for hundreds of pages. it gets tiring quickly.
I'm pro legilization, and agree with many of the points made in this book.
However, Lee fails to acknowledge the other side once throughout the entire book. It's black and white all the way, the pot angels vs the governm
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone curious about cannabis
Martin A. Lee, investigative journalist, has written an articulate, compelling, fact-filled book on the social history of marijuana use in the United States and the corresponding prohibitionist mentality which has forever demonized the plant.
Now, with the states of Colorado and Washington legalizing adult recreational use of cannabis (Cannabis is the preferred scientific term for marijuana), this book is an excellently written, pertinent resource for anyone wanting to know more about this contro
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a book that will turn you into a Libertarian. If you weren't distrustful of government before reading this very detailed social history of marijuana in the United States, after reading you will begin to question every position espoused by the powers that be. The War on Marijuana has proven to be a entirely wasteful and hurtful program, jailing thousands of people unnecessarily, persecuting ill citizens who were obviously being helped by the medicinal benefits of herb, wasting tax dollars, ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, history
Wow, there was so much information in this book that it took some time to digest. This book tells the story of how cannabis became illegal. What started out in the US as a small time conspiracy mission to demoralize the controversial plant, quickly snowballed into an ignorant populous, hell-bent on eradicating the once common-place medicinal herb. What I found most interesting were the accounts of numerous studies (often ordered by the government) in attempts at discovering health concerns. The ...more
Ryan Barker
Jul 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for an unbiased or objective view of the history of marijuana, this is not the book to find it in. It is very biased in favor of marijuana, it's legalization, and it's use. It focuses only on studies and positive history, even to the point of citing conspiracy theories at some point.

If you're looking for a persuasive case for why marijuana should be legalized or are trying to convince friends or family members, then this is not the book. It is one-sided to the point of rewritin
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kudos to Martin A. Lee. He deserves the Pullitzer Prize and the National Book Award for this well documented, beautifully written and engaging book on a marvelous and ancient herbal medicine, probably the most clearly mistaken target of the U.S. Government's "War on [Some] Drugs". Perhaps you will become as furious as I did, reading about the U.S. government's decades-long war against its own citizens, one of the best indicators of a long-term slide towards totalitarianism. Although the governme ...more
Nathan Triz
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly informative and thoroughly researched, this was hands down the best book on Marijuana I've ever read. I highly suggested that everyone gets their hands on a copy and read it immediately. It's sickening and disgusting to read about the horrible lies and bigotry that has gone on for years and years through pot prohibition and the thousands of lives that have been ruined because of it, but on the other hand it makes me feel proud to live in time where change is finally on the horizon.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, this book gets repetitive and it's abundantly clear this writer has an agenda, but if even a tenth of his seemingly well documented claims are true, we have been lied to for decades. It angers me. While I have a little trouble believing this ubiquitous plant cures everything from hang nails to cancer as the book suggests, I'm convinced thousands of lives are ruined on an ongoing basis for the sake of profit and politics and it must stop. At the very least we must allow for medical research ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually a non-fiction reader, but WOW. Really great read, though by the end the pretense of impartiality is pretty much gone (I think referring to Ronald Reagan as a "Narc", while subjectively justifiable, somewhat surrenders journalistic neutrality).

I also think that the pacing/focus of the book was a bit lumpy, specifically that the amount of time devoted to the history of pot in California was a bit over-represented. The state's historical relationship with marijuana, while fascinati
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“Nietzsche, who called alcohol and Christianity “the two great European narcotics,” was not averse to the therapeutic use of cannabis. “To escape from unbearable pressure you need hashish,” Nietzsche wrote.” 4 likes
“the nineteenth century was an era of great personal freedom with respect to psychoactive substances. There were no laws against using hashish in Europe and North America, where any respectable person could walk into a pharmacy and choose from a range of cannabis tinctures and pastes. After the U.S. Civil War, Gunjah Wallah Hasheesh Candy (“a most pleasurable and harmless stimulant”) was available via mail order from Sears-Roebuck. The average American pretty much was at liberty to use any drug that he or she desired.” 3 likes
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