In Legalized It! Inside Colorado and Washington State’s Historic Votes to End Marijuana Prohibition (2012, $4.20), David Bienenstock, author of The Official High Times Pot Smoker’s Handbook, takes you to the front lines of the War on Marijuana for an insider’s look at two states that just voted to end cannabis prohibition.
After approving ballot initiatives allowing possession, cultivation and commercial sales of marijuana, Colorado and Washington State now stand poised to make history, if only the federal government will get out of their way. Meanwhile, support for ending America’s longest and most senseless “war” has never been higher nationwide, so it’s no longer a question of if, but rather where and when, pot legalization will happen next.
“Legalized It!” consists of articles written from 2004 to 2012 by the west coast editor at High Times magazine. Mr. Bienenstock is a talented writer whose libertarian outlook blends with thoughtful analysis, humor and compassion producing high-quality content. This timely, thought-provoking and entertaining book should appeal to all Americans who cherish their personal freedoms and/or hope for an imminent end to the senseless war on drugs.
The book is divided into three sections. The first section, ‘Legalized It!’ has three articles comprising 18 percent of the book. The feature story ‘Legalized It!’ was written in the aftermath of the successful referendum to legalize recreational use of pot in Colorado and Washington state, an historic event that Mr. Bienenstock compares with governor Al Smith’s historic move to end alcohol prohibition in New York state in 1932. Other articles include ‘Holmes Base’, an interview with Pete Holmes, a legalization proponent in Seattle; and ‘Tipping Point’, an insightful article about America’s changing attitudes about cannabis that was written in the weeks leading up to the November vote. Mr. Bienenstock’s writing captures the excitement and promise of the moment including thoughtful commentary on the many issues that lie ahead for the legalization movement.
The second section, ‘Field Reporting’ has ten articles filling one third of the book. Mr. Bienenstock shares his adventures in the marijuana community with eco-minded farmers, psychedelic research centers, Dutch medical cannabis programs, universities dedicated to weed, hippie gatherings, cannabis famers’ markets, and etc. As the author fully immerses himself in these diverse experiences (as he should) we come to appreciate how many people are tirelessly working to bring greater peace, health and happiness to others and to the planet.
The third section, ‘Interviews/Profiles’ has 17 mostly short interviews rounding out half of the book. The subjects include academics (Sasha Shulgin, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Dr. Andrew Weil), activists (Robert Platshorn), actors (Ed Norton, The Trailer Park Boys, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Piven), athletes (Rob Van Dam), businesspeople (Rick Doblin), gardeners (Valerie Corral), politicians (Kinky Friedman, Gary Johnson), rock stars (Alex Lifeson, Scott Weiland) and other colorful personalities (Captain Zero, Jeff Dowd). Mr. Bienenstock has a knack for striking a rapport with his various subjects and eliciting their unvarnished, straight-forward opinions on a wide range of topics both irreverent and profound. While the interviews add both flavor and substance to the legalization discussion, these powerful testimonials make it clear that the movement today has a broad base of support that can no longer be ignored.