Marijuana for Dopes

Warwick Pub


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"Marijuana for dopes is a fascinating voyage through the history of humankind's use of pot, from warrior women and trembling kings in ancient Indochina to auto mechanics and outlaw accountants at backyard barbecues in outer Des Moines. In the United States alone, over 60 million people have smoked marijuana at least once in the last five years" (back cover)

The 138 pages book intensively and extensively orients a knowledge seeker on the grass that is actively grown ubiquitously, and the smoke that is passively inhaled by humankind, and made a global impression in history irrespective of time and tide. Exceptionally, a leading history maker of 20th century America, Bill Clinton, is reportedly `the only person who didn't inhale'. Bill admits having used marijuana, "He tried it, didn't like it, and didn't inhale, or so he said" (p. 65).

The table of contents present a clear picture of the book: What is this stuff, anyway; Getting high is ancient history; Pot in Europe and the West; Cannabis in the New World: Marijuana; The studies; The hemp business (It's not what you think); A pharmacological cornucopia; Cannabis in religion; Cannabis culture in the 21st century; Notes; A glossary for dopes; Sources; Index.

This book is an easy to read, simple to trace, fun to understand, historic in approach, religious in its transcendental wings, factual in its narrative, and pun oriented. The anecdotes and exhaustive quotes that abound are worth the salt of the smoke, even if you are not a dope and even you were never an addict of this Grass, that is green, and which made history in being smuggled in some quarters, religiously consumed in some, and politicized in others.

Popular culture is its focus. Popular dupe are its characters. The whole book is a very precise cultural survey of its existence in east and west. A work of a librarian - not the librarian who simply catalogs book titles, but who is intensely analytical too, Joseph Romain's twentieth published book, is characterized by authoritative citations. "This is a book for all the glaziers and dopers and singers and tax lawyers and mechanics and nurses and librarians and vice presidents and shipping clerks and teachers and accordion players, professors of Early American Literature, and grave diggers with whom I have shared a smoke. This is a book for the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker - even if they don't inhale" (preface).

It is a good reading not only for popular culture students and specialists, but also by any one who is interested in understanding the age old history of global grass eating cultural cousins across the seven seas, and commonly consume cannabis - though with different names - bhang, ganja, charas, opium, hashish, majoon, marijuana, kif, grass, hemp, pot, sinsemilla, etc. After all, what's in a name!

Since the book leaves the grass growing, a sequel to this book can provide further diversified food for thought to the Cannabis and other cousins of dope in, for instance, the mystical dimensions. Those interested in dumping Cannabis literature to the recycle bin will think twice as the extent of this subject and the scatter of the resources. The book, under review, is just a tip of the iceberg. On mystical dimensions of the drug and its associates, there may be thousands of resources. There is a direct reference to cannabis in classical medieval Persian literature.

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