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In the Weeds: Demonization, Legalization, and the Evolution of U.S. Marijuana Policy, Clayton J. Mosher and Scott Akins

Reviewed by A. Lee Hannah

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Since 1996, 33 U.S. states have legalized comprehensive medical cannabis programs, and 10 of those states have permitted recreational marijuana programs. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug that holds no known medical value, limiting access and medical research while simultaneously criminalizing use and possession. The policy gap between the federal government and the American states continues to puzzle observers of American politics. This is the subject of Clayton J. Mosher and Scott Akins’s excellent book In the Weeds: Demonization, Legalization, and the Evolution of U.S. Marijuana Policy. This book provides a wide-ranging overview of the demonization of marijuana in the twentieth century and a detailed account of the current state of marijuana policy including the federal government’s “long-standing, science-optional, and essentially evidence-free approach to marijuana” (p. viii).

Mosher and Akins combine medical and social scientific research with the most up-to-date reporting on the implementation of marijuana policies to provide a compelling overview of cannabis policy in the United States. Chapters 1 and 2 profile the history of marijuana use and enforcement, Chapter 3 summarizes the latest medical research on marijuana, Chapters 4 and 5 document the demonization of marij

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