Smoke Signals Tells the Great American Pot Story
New book by the author of Acid Dreams stirs controversy, garners national media attention
Can a book make a difference? Smoke Signals, a groundbreaking social history of cannabis by Martin A. Lee, is poised to heat up the marijuana debate at a pivotal moment when legalization measures are on the ballot in several states and the medical marijuana community is reeling from federal pressure. Although marijuana possession is illegal under federal law, half of all Americans have tried the herb and tens of millions use it regularly for therapeutic and recreational purposes. A panoramic, character-driven narrative that explains why marijuana affects so many aspects of American life, Smoke Signals chronicles the development of a grassroots movement that began in the 1960s and grew into a widespread populist revolt against prohibition. The great leap forward came in 1996, when California voters shocked the political and medical establishments by passing Proposition 215, which authorized doctors to approve marijuana use by patients. Similar laws have since been enacted in 16 other states and the District of Columbia. Published in August 2012 by Scribner (a division of Simon & Schuster) Smoke Signals describes the burgeoning of a multi-billion-dollar industry and exposes collusion by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to undermine the will of the electorate. “The big, untold story,” according to Lee, an award-winning investigative journalist, “is that there have been more than a million documented medical users and no deaths and no pattern of health problems attributable to medical marijuana.” Smoke Signals draws attention to underreported scientific breakthroughs, including the discovery of a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), which protects the brain against alcohol poisoning, stimulates adult stem cell growth, prevents the onset of diabetes, and shrinks malignant tumors — without causing a “high.” By mining the plant’s treasure trove of active ingredients, medical researchers have developed promising treatments for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain, and many other conditions that are beyond the reach of conventional cures. “It’s not just marijuana that got prohibited,” Tod Mikuriya, MD, a principal character in Smokes Signals, used to point out, “it’s the truth about history.” Martin A. Lee’s new social history of marijuana goes a long way towards restoring the prohibited truth. Historian Douglas Brinkley said of Smoke Signals: “This is an important, serious-minded look at the role cannabis has played in American history. It tackles the hard issues of marijuana prohibition with keen insight and righteous indignation. I agree with Lee’s central premise that our marijuana laws are draconian. Every American should read this landmark book!” “A ripping read, thoroughly researched, Smoke Signals will help inform the current debate and hopefully hasten the demise of prohibition.” — David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Martin A. Lee is the author of several books, including Acid Dreams, his acclaimed social history of LSD. He is the co-founder of FAIR, the national media watch group, and director of Project CBD, an information service that reports on cannabis science and therapeutics. Lee is also a contributing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s, the journal of cannabis in clinical practice, and a writer for BeyondTHC.com.
The buzz about Smoke Signals since the book launch at the Seattle Hempfest: From the Huffington Post: Smoke Signals slideshow on Key Moments in Pot History.
Daily Beast article on cannabinoids and cancer by Martin A. Lee.
Disseminated initially by Truthout, Lee’s article, “Obama’s ‘Fast and Furious’ Assault on Medical Marijuana,” went viral and provoked national TV coverage. Read the article.
Salon ran an excerpt from Smoke Signals about cannabis and kids. Read the excerpt.
Dangerous Minds posted a Q & A with the author of Smoke Signals, “the fascinating just-released chronicle of the chronic.” Read the interview.
Smoke Signals and Project CBD were featured in a cover story in the Bohemian — “The Straight Dope: Tired of the euphoria, anxiety and crash from being stoned? Nonpsychoactive cannabidiol supplies health benefits without the typical effects of THC.” Read the article.
Order a copy of Smoke Signals. (Smoke Signals is also available as an audio-book and an e-book.)
To arrange media interviews and public speaking events with the author of Smoke Signals, contact Martin A Lee
For a schedule of the author’s speaking and book-signing appearances, click here: Public Speaking
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