5 Pot and 5 Not: Dr. Mitch’s Books for Cannabis Activists

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The Pot:

These are five of the many books that lay the foundation for educated activist to become the most informed, persuasive, and entertaining persuaders they can be.

The Marijuana Conviction (Richard Bonnie and Charles Whitebread):

Here’s the detailed story of cannabis prohibition in all its racist, ignorant splendor. Nobody provides the historical context to MGTHexplain the trajectory from alcohol prohibition’s repeal to the bigoted beginnings of the drug war like these scholars. Charlie Whitebread’s legendary teaching inspired me to work hard in the classroom while we both were at USC, too.

Marijuana Gateway to Health (Clint Werner)

In this gutsy, accessible summary of the biological literature, Clint Werner bravely points to the obvious implications of all that abstruse medical mumbo-jumbo: in the right dosage under the right conditions, cannabis is good for people. Clint is the man.

Understanding Marijuana (Mitch Earleywine)

mitchbookI’m still proud of this, but it’s time I confessed: it was all a trick to teach the public how to think about science. I love getting those emails that say, “I used to just shout ‘Free the Weed.’ Now I can explain why.” Hearing activists clarify causality to journalists always warms my heart.

Marijuana is Safer (Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert)

These guys did a delightful job of taking the science and then, smartly, putting it all in a gripping story of various changes in laws over the years. My hat’s off to them!

The Pot Book (Julie Holland)

Before she became famous as the endearingly self-disclosing ER psychiatrist of “Weekends at Bellevue” and the crusading humanist who penned “Moody Bitches,” Julie Holland got everyone from me to Tommy Chong to write chapters for this charming compendium of all things related to cannabis. She is so cool.

The Not:

These five books address the other facets of life that turn good cannabis activists into great cannabis activists. (Hey! You can’t read about the plant all the time!)

Rules for Radicals (Saul Alinsky)

I thought I had some courage until I read this dangerous text. I’m nothing next to this guy. Be careful. When you reach the lastrulesradicals page you’ll realize that you have no excuse to sit idly by. You’ll know what to do and how to do it. Saul’s been dead over 30 years and he’s still pissing people off. That’s my new goal.

Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive (Noah Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Bob Cialdini)

These McNuggets of social psychology explain exactly how to word your requests to help get the people around you to behave the way that they know that they ought to. It also helps you battle the barrage of marketing malarkey that bombs us each day.

The Art of Asking (Amanda Palmer)

You’ll love her and you’ll hate her. You’ll laugh, cry, and want to barf. You’ll know down deep that activists are artists. Then you’ll find yourself building your own community and calling them to fight by your side…and lend you a couch for the night.

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (Leonard Mlodinow)

Here’s a compelling, gentle set of reminders that, despite our subjective impression to the contrary, many aspects of our lives are outside our own control. The unspoken lesson, that we should work hard but let ourselves of the hook when things don’t always turn out exactly right, has rarely had so much logical and empirical support.

wholebookWhole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (T. Colin Campbell)

We already love one plant. Time to love some more. The author of the legendary “China Study” explains how and why fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains are the secret to how we can get to enjoy all plants for as long as possible. I know I’ll take some heat for recommending this one, but what’s the point of living if all my activist pals aren’t around to play with?


Feature photo: ‘Watercolor Still Life of Books and Tea’ by ArtByKati via Etsy