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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-05-28
- Reviewer: Staff
In his chaotic and entertaining new book, Fine (Farewell, My Subaru) examines the potential of the legal cannibis industry via profiles of cannabis farmers, law enforcement officials, medical marijuana patients, and a cannabis plant during the 2011 growing season in Mendocino County, Calif. Cannabis is all but fully legal in the county (though not under federal law), and Fine uses the county’s new experiment to advocate for an America where cannabis is legal, regulated, and taxed. Relying primarily on an economic argument, he hammers home his point that the U.S. has wasted 40 years and vast amounts of money on the war on drugs. He suggests ways in which cannabis can fix government budgets and drive the economic engine. Industrial hemp, he posits, could revive struggling farms, and fermented cannabis could lead to energy independence. Fine halfheartedly reports on potential downsides of legalization, but gives precedence to distinctive characters like Tomas Balogh, a cheerful farmer, and a gruff-but-fair Mendocino ordinance enforcer, Sgt. Randy Johnson. Though sometimes Fine packs in too many people, he successfully illuminates an unusual world where cannabis growers sing “Happy Birthday” to Sergeant Johnson while crossing their fingers against the threat of federal raids. This informative book will give even hardened drug warriors pause. Agent: Markus Hoffman, Regal Literary. (Aug.)