3 books on pot culture

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tuesday, in a move that surely caused stoners everywhere to pause and wonder why people can't just chill out, Californians voted down a ballot initiative that would have allowed the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana. But while the politics of pot change with the times and vary from one state to another, the weed is firmly planted in American subculture. These three new books will give potheads, and those who just dabble, something to giggle excessively about.

1Cannabis - Philosophy for Everyone: What Were We Just Talking About?, edited by Dale Jacquette (Wiley-Blackwell; paperback, $19.95). Multiple dimensions are explored in this book's 16 essays, featuring titles such as "Marijuana and Creativity," "Cannabis and the Culture of Alienation" and "Cannabis and the Human Condition." Part of the "Philosophy for Everyone" series (other subjects include porn, serial killers and gardening), the book is both high- and low-brow and is sure to please undergrads searching for epiphanies while hanging out in hazy basements.

2Reefer Movie Madness: The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide, by Shirley Halperin and Steve Bloom (Abrams; paperback, $18.95). "Marijuana and movies go together like bong hits and the munchies," write the authors in their introduction. Movies are divided by subject - comedies, dramas, sci-fi, action - and rated by marijuana leaves instead of stars ("Animal House" is a five-leaf film; "Dude, Where's My Car" gets 21/2 leaves). The book also features Q&As with iconic stoners such as Cheech and Chong and short essays on topics such as "When Food Comes to Life" in films.

3Cannabiz: The Explosive Rise of the Medical Marijuana Industry, by John Geluardi (Polipoint; paperback, $15.95). The stereotype says stoners are slackers. But after reading "Cannabiz," they may be inspired to get off the couch and turn their passion into a profitable business. Geluardi looks at legalization efforts, defends medical marijuana and explains how the generally illegal drug has become a moneymaker for lawful businesses. After all, Geluardi reports, in Los Angeles, marijuana dispensaries outnumber McDonald's franchises.

- Stephen Lowman

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