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Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution Hardcover – August 2, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Fine has written a well-researched book that uses the clever tactic of making the moral case for ending marijuana prohibition by burying it inside the economic case.” -Bill Maher in The New York Times Book Review

“Fine examines how the American people have borne the massive economic and social expenditures of the failed Drug War, which is ‘as unconscionably wrong for America as segregation and DDT.’ A captivating, solidly documented work rendered with wit and humor.”  —Kirkus (Starred Review)

"A well-researched journey into the world of legal cannabis farming and a funny, maddening account of [American] farmers’ travails under federal persecution on an island of legality." —Outside

“In his entertaining new book…[Fine] successfully illuminates an unusual world where cannabis growers sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to (friendly law enforcement) while crossing their fingers against the threat of federal raids.This informative book will give even hardened drug warriors pause.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“An important book.” —Michael Pollan via Twitter

About the Author

Doug Fine is the author of two previous books, Not Really an Alaskan Mountain Man and Farewell, My Subaru (a Boston Globe bestseller). He has reported for The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, High Times, Outside, NPR, and U.S. News & World Report. He currently lives in New Mexico, where he relocated his family to research this book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (August 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592407099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592407095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book was recommended to me by a friend and I am SO glad that I read it. I am a self-described stick in the mud and have very little experience (read: no) with marijuana. Although I'm relatively liberal I've always had mixed feelings about the legalization of cannabis and, more specifically, recreational marijuana. This book totally changed my feelings on this topic. I now hope I get to vote to legalize it in my lifetime.

The book is NOT propaganda as another reviewer claims, but it is obviously written from the point of view of someone who was interested enough in cannabis to move his family to CA to research it. The title of the book is forthright and explains the viewpoint right from the start. Doug Fine writes in a very honest and straightforward way and I found the book to be extremely interesting and informative.
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Should be required reading for lawmakers, but I often had to re-read many paragraphs to get the point, and that's why it's getting only four stars from me. That is not to say that it isn't excellent content, well researched, and provided me with a lot of facts. This was one of many books I am currently reading on the cannabis subject and it ranks high, (no pun intended), on my list of "must read" books for anyone who believes cannabis prohibition is a good thing, or is sitting on the fence about beneficial cannabis uses, or is considering activism for putting an end to prohibition. My difficulties with Doug's writing style is a personal thing, and while it was a bit distracting for me, re-reading did help to "drive home" many important facts that I want to retain for the future. Often, when I thought a point was trying to be made in one direction that seemed contrary, upon re-reading I got it. That's probably just me, but I do read a lot and his style is a bit different. This is NOT a reason to skip this book.

While written in a journalistic style, you do get that it was really becoming a personal crusade for Doug to bring people to the understanding that prohibition in this country, and the world as a whole, is nothing short of ignorance and misinformation. It reads like a story that takes a lot of side trips to explain facts and fiction about cannabis uses, medicinally and industrially, now as well as throughout the ages. He provides information that enables understanding of how deep the issues of cannabis prohibition run, who the players are on both sides of the issue and what stake they have in this political game.
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I really enjoyed this book.
Doug Fine has a good ear for language and a good eye for detail. He writes clearly and with humor. He is a part of the story but he doesn't make himself the center of the action. He's a bit (and here he may wince) like the "John Mcphee" of dope. The story is written about Mendocino County and how the attitudes towards cannabis have evolved over the years. It has transformed the region, brought it wealth and controversy in equal measures.
For some people, not all, cannabis is a wonder drug. It relieves pain, anxiety and can help with the side effects of other drug treatments. It is also a useful plant in preventative health (and when unheated has NO psychoactive effects whatsoever.) Fine presents a good overview of the crazy and destructive contradictory policies that are playing out in California and around the country. He sees an eventual drug peace. Prohibition does not work. It is an expensive failure that destroys much more than it saves. Prohibition fuels the Mexican drug cartels and for that reason alone it should be ended.
The book is easy to read. The characters come to life. There are photos in the back so you can see the plant he follows from seedling to harvest.
I found out about Doug's book when listening to the c-realm podcast by KMO. Highly recommended and soberly recommended as well.
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A very well-written book about the perils and rewards of cannabis farming in northern California during a growing season under the 9.31 program. While the book does present excellent detail, color and local flavor (I really want to visit Mendocino, now), it does occasionally wander away into mythical drug lore - like stating that a draft of the Declaration of Independence being written on hemp paper - which in a small way detracts from the overall message.

The tone of the book is positive and presented - for about the first two-thirds of the work - by a subtle, effective delivery system. Unfortunately, the book becomes more and more strident towards the end. The odd inclusion of liberalism as supporting cannabis growth (which it doesn't), and other political strangeness derails the ending - at least for me.

Doug Fine is a very good writer, and this book is one of his best works. I've read others and ... well, he and I see things differently when it comes to certain subjects. Rather than going off on a rant about the "economic benefits of cannabis to the country" like a previous reviewer did (which really wasn't a review of the book as much as it was a personal view of cannabis economy), I recommend that the reader pick up this book, and make up his own mind about the benefits or disadvantages of this Controlled Substances Act Schedule I plant.

Too High To Fail really isn't a "must read" for anyone who is thinking about the economic situation in this country; it's a "must read" for anyone who wonders about cannabis, cannabis enforcement, and how the plant goes from cutting to patient.
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