Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America

First Second. Apr. 2019. 256p. bibliog. ISBN 9781250154088. $24.99. NF/GRAPHIC NOVELS
In this nonfiction graphic novel, writer/illustrator Brown (Andre the Giant: Life and Legend) sketches the history of individual and societal responses to, uses of and attitudes toward cannabis in broad strokes, from humanity's first contact with the plant and its place in East Indian mythology to the present. Unsurprisingly, most of Brown's latter-day history of cannabis involves its demonization by the U.S. government to subjugate minorities and for political gain, especially by Prohibition advocate Harry J. Anslinger, the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics first commissioner, described by Brown as "cannabis' greatest enemy." Readers are advised to supplement their reading of this text, the typos in which need another round of copy editing [advance uncorrected proof provided for review], with other, more strictly objective works (e.g., Owlin's How Do You Smoke a Weed [Xpress Reviews, 11/2/18]); some violent, disturbing content but suitable for young teens and up.
VERDICT This unabashedly pot-positive polemic is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the subject and its history, and a good—albeit optional—addition to a well-rounded collection of resources regarding the same.

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