Reefer Gladness – An Enthusiast’s Guide To The Marijuana Boom


Adventures Into the Uncharted World of Cannabis
By Joe Dolce

On the same evening Donald Trump became the president-elect, four states California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and three others voted to allow it for medicinal purposes. It was one of the few things liberals werent depressed about. Should the legalization trend not be challenged by the new Trump administration, a huge new industry surrounding the care, consumption and enjoyment of weed will hit the cultural mainstream. Brave New Weed, a loving rethink of all things marijuana by the former Details editor in chief Joe Dolce, is likely to be a trusted hitchhikers guide to this new universe.

Dolce takes a deep dive, explaining to the reader that he plans to submerge myself in this brave new and yet at the same time, ancient world. By which he basically means traveling around and smoking his brains out, but it works. He sets his journey up as a test case, to see if he can sample all that this booming new industry has to offer and remain an engaged, responsible and professional adult.

By his own account, he seems not to be the first weed researcher to emerge from such a journey an enthusiastic apologist. One of the funnier stories in the book (there are many of them; Dolce is a witty writer) concerns Richard Nixons bumbling efforts to crush the marijuana lifestyle.

Determined to show up the bastards and Jews who want to legalize pot, Nixon names the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, Raymond P. Shafer, to lead the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. Shafer, Nixon knows, is angling for a Supreme Court nomination and so will surely do his bidding, as Dolce puts it.

Shafers commission, a humorous precursor to Dolces own study, ends up spending the equivalent of $23.5 million in todays dollars to conduct over 50 national studies and visit countries like the Netherlands, Jamaica and Afghanistan in search of weeds evil heart. The Republican never finds it, producing a cheery report in 1972 called Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, which concludes that the punishment for the crime was more harmful than the drug itself. He never got that Supreme Court nomination, although he may have acquired a new hobby.

Baby boomers and Gen-Xers who smoked plain old pot in the woods or in the attic the drugs illegality was part of what made it fun will probably have some old-fogey reactions to particular passages in Dolces book. The new fascination with weed in some way mirrors the sabermetrics movement. Just as old baseball fans enjoyed the game just fine before the advent of fWAR, there will be old stoners who say they dont need to know the difference between an indica or a sativa to get high.

A bit of paper or an empty Mountain Dew can was enough to deliver the drug to their brains, and they managed without instructions on how to enjoy themselves. Which means Dolces unironic enthusiasm about accessories (The beauty of a precision vaporizer like the Plenty is that the temperature can be adjusted) or activities to avoid (Tennis, at which Im less accomplished, is overwhelming) may seem humorous.

Dolce, to his credit, addresses the one truly dark undercurrent of this new movement that white yuppie grown-up users are getting a place in the mainstream while inner-city black kids caught dealing or even possessing the drug are still going to jail (getting a ticket to orange, as Dolce puts it).

Ending this madness is theoretically a chief benefit of new legalization laws, along with Americas catching up to research into medicinal effects (Dolces account of Israels 20,000-person cannabis study is fascinating). The rest of it arduously crafted new strains on a spectrum as vast as wine vintages, designer highs, a fuller appreciation of how pot enhances creativity and the senses is a matter of taste.

Young people everywhere have always known that pot doesnt cause brain bubbles or werewolfism, that its illegality was stupid and hypocritical, and most of all that its fun. The next generation will just be the first who can openly write books and reviews about that fun. While some may mourn the goofball-outlaw era of pot that gave us Up in Smoke, Dr. Greenthumb and some pretty cloudy parking lots outside Phish concerts, the era of Dolces Brave New Weed will probably be a better time.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Reefer Gladness – An Enthusiast’s Guide To The Marijuana Boom
Author: Matt Taibbi
Contact: The New York Times
Photo Credit: Jim Wilson
Website: The New York Times