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Smoke Signals - Martin Lee

I didn’t enjoy this book.

As a history, it is thorough and easy to read, but I have very deep problems with the overall message, and several important points.

The gist of this book is: marijuana is ALL good, and the prohibition against it has been ALL unfounded or nefarious.

I admit, most of the prohibition case has indeed been absurd - first they say it will make you crazy, later switched to lazy; they said it would make white women sleep with black men, etc. I never agreed with prohibition but I really don’t appreciate ONLY the ridiculous arguments being presented here.

I have been smoking weed over two thirds of my life. I don’t support prohibition OR legalization, because I don’t want the government involved in either direction. I believe people should be free to use whatever they want, but I also believe that a scholarly book about the “social history” of a drug which fails to discuss the negatives is an abomination.

There are benefits to most drugs, but to claim essentially that there are no harms involves a level of dissonance that I cannot comprehend.

The book says repeatedly that weed is not addictive. It is true that it is not VERY addictive. Neither is heroin. The majority of people who use both, do not get addicted. But what about the few who do? I started young and I’ve battled with addiction most of my life. The book waited until the very end to even mention “problem users”, and that sole paragraph basically denied their existence.

The book says weed isn’t a stepping stone, yet discusses many prominent pot heads who indeed used harder drugs too. Again, the dissonance here is unreal.

I do not have space in this caption for the nuance of the pros and cons, but this 400 page, small font book definitely did.

If you love pot and want to be told exactly what you want to hear, and not have your beliefs challenged in any way, this book is for you. If you want to have a deeper understanding of the effects of any drug on individuals (especially children), families, and communities, this book is not for you.

A better, though not perfect book I DO recommend is Marijuana Debunked by Ed Gogek.