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Marijuana Nation: One Man's Chronicle of America Getting High: From Vietnam to Legalization Hardcover – April 20, 2014
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Roffman’s decades-long study of America’s shifting relationship with marijuana began in Vietnam in the 1960s, when he was serving in the U.S. Army. Although the drug was strictly forbidden (and even casual use carried hard-labor sentences), its use was widespread. Why, Roffman wondered back then, does society have such a vehement objection to a substance that, when used in moderation, appears to be fairly harmless? Nowadays, after many years of close study, he has found many answers but also many more questions. Part of the problem—the problem, that is, of determining the truth about the harmfulness of the drug—lies in what the author calls the “war over marijuana,” with both sides so polarized that there is very little common ground. Interestingly, Roffman doesn’t appear to pick a side, making good arguments for both positions and focusing on separating fact from fiction, letting us make up our own minds. A very valuable book, especially given the way today’s winds are blowing in the direction of legalized marijuana. --David Pitt
“An astounding first person account of the modern history of America’s love-hate relationship with cannabis from four knowing perspectives. Firstly, as a young consumer, then an activist, abstinent researcher and not-so-tacit university professor. From no one else’s writings can these unique viewpoints be gained.” (Allenn St. Pierre, Executive Director, National Director of the Reform of Marijuana Laws)
“Debates about marijuana rarely involve opponents acknowledging that those on the other side have some good points. Those for legalization rarely admit marijuana use can be harmful, and those against it rarely concede that prohibition has failed. Roger Roffman brings some badly needed “fresh air” to our national discussion about pot and pot laws. A retired professor who has studied marijuana for decades, Roffman has also had the personal experience of struggling with his own compulsive use. The reader will find a middle ground in this thoughtfully written memoir. As more states consider changing their marijuana laws, Roffman’s book is being published at just the right time. ” (Charles Mandigo, former Special Agent in Charge, Seattle Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation)
“A terrific book that provides great insights into the complex issue that is cannabis. Professor Roffman’s unique experiences with this drug are given voice with his usual thoughtful and engaging style. Roffman is a father of modern cannabis intervention research and his book is a must read.” (Professor Jan Copeland, Director, National Cannabis Prevention and Information Center, University of New South Wales)
“Anyone wishing to understand the conflicting value judgments, political quagmire, and social upheaval that the marijuana reform effort has been steeped in for decades would benefit from reading Marijuana Nation. While Roffman’s work may deliver more questions than answers, his introspection and self-effacing style carve a path for the discerning mind to come to its own well informed decisions on what clearly is the subject of the day for both the social scientist and the casual reader.” (Vivian McPeak, Executive Director, Seattle Hempfest)
“Dr. Roffman writes beautifully from multiple perspectives about his 40 year interest in marijuana policy -- the destructive impacts of our drug war on exploring young lives, the political struggles over policy changes, his own experimentation and dependency, and his research on marijuana addiction. A must-read for all seeking a saner approach to recreational drug use.” (Robert W. Wood, M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Washington)
“Roger writes a compelling story. No matter what side of the marijuana debate you land on, you can appreciate how he arrived at his opinion on the matter. This is more than an argument for or against the legalization of marijuana, it’s a detailed map of his personal journey and evolution on the topic. I have long respected Roger’s willingingness to tell the whole story in his work. Reading this book helps me understand the thoughts, tears, steps and intention behind his position.” (Frank Couch, LMFTA, CDP, NCACI, Executive Director, The Science And Management of Addictions)
“Marijuana Nation was a totally engaging read! It vastly broadened my understanding of the history of marijuana within our culture. I especially appreciated the candidness with which Dr. Roffman described his personal experiences and opinions around marijuana. As a mother who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and is now frantic about my teen son’s heavy marijuana use, this book has given me a better perspective and knowledge that is helping me deal with his dependence. I think this is a book every parent should read.” (Julie Campbell, youth substance abuse prevention activist, Seattle)
“When it comes to the war on marijuana, it’s easy to be passionately pro or con. Roger Roffman goes much deeper. For 40 years he’s been passionate about actually understanding America’s fascinating and painful relationship with this drug and what policy is best for our society when it comes to pot. In Marijuana Nation, Roger shares a unique perspective from the trenches of Vietnam to the halls of academia to the eventual legalization of pot in two states. The story he tells is a page-turner for anyone curious about the social and historical context of America’s war on pot.” (Rick Steves, host of public television’s Rick Steves’ Europe)
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Top Customer Reviews
Are there dangers associated with the use of cannabis? Certainly. Should we terrorize users with Swat teams? Certainly not.
Should you read this book? Maybe.
At the same time, he doesn't pretend that marijuana doesn't have problems, and that these problems definitely include psychological dependence and may include some degree of physical addiction.
He also relates his personal history of pot usage, eventual dependence, and quitting. Related to that, he was Washington state coordinator for NORML in the 1970s, before it imploded.
That said, it's not quite 5-star. Roffman doesn't give us the latest research on just how much benefit medical marijuana offers, whether smoking vs. ingesting has any more benefits, or whether THC pills offer near enough benefit to undercut the cries for medical marijuana. He also doesn't address the question of just how much we do, or do not know, about its physical addictiveness and degree of that. Related to this, he doesn't give us an educated guess as to how much less physically addictive it may be than alcohol, and ditto on the psychological side.
This is a biggie because he has experience in counseling alcoholics as well as the marijuana dependent. If the NORML type folks want to say pot isn't as bad as booze, let's draw out all comparisons, all the way.
I agree totally with him that society needs counseling countermeasures to deal both with the inevitability of both legalization and dependency problems certain to affect vulnerable youth and others with addictive personalities. That said, my own observations are that the vast majority of stable adults using cannabis are not threats to society or to themselves and can enjoy weed's benefits if used in moderation which will very likely be the usage pattern. I have a close relative who smokes daily. He's a locally prominent business owner and innovator. Another smoked one ounce a month (that's a lot) but cut that by 90% when he took a tech job in Silicon Valley. I have a former friend my age who smoked cannabis heavily in early teen years and combined with his undiagnosed schizophrenia, a bad combination, is now a very angry man with a lot of guns. Another relative was able to reverse a moderate alcohol addiction brought on by chronic pain by substituting a small amount of evening marijuana - an amazing transformation. In short, it's not possible to make simple predictions on how legalized cannabis will impact society. We're at the beginning of a social experiment.
Mr. Roffman's book is an historical journey through modern times viewed and described by a well educated, compassionate and thoughtful man. The book is a very well written and an insightful personal journey. I enjoyed it very much. Anyone interested in the subject should read this book. It will make you a wiser citizen and a more informed voter.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can’t imagine a better guide than Roger Roffman for exploring the truth about the use of marijuana.Read more