The New Chardonnay: The Unlikely Story of How Marijuana Went Mainstream

Currency. Aug. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781984826244. $28. BUS
The changes in legislation toward cannabis in the United States and Canada over the past decade have created a new economy that mixes technology, culture, and cuisine. While traversing the country to follow Beth Stavola’s evolution from banking VP to marijuana entrepreneur, Cabot (Geek Girl Rising) delves into the new frontier of building businesses based on a semilegal product. The author jumps among different narratives to reflect the massive movement that began with the first hints at legalization. While recounting the ups and downs of Stavola’s business, she also follows rapper Snoop Dogg and TV producer Ted Chung, as they create a media and medical empire that adheres to Snoop’s personal philosophy, and Jeff Danzer, “The 420 Chef,” renowned for his edibles, who helps push cannabis cuisine to the next level. Cabot also focuses on the developments within Canada’s legalized marijuana industry and shows how it has spurred the fledgling U.S. industry. The book does for the cannabis industry what Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine did for the microcomputer industry 40 years ago.
VERDICT Cabot cuts through the hype and romance of the counterculture to identify the emergence of a burgeoning industry focused on housewives and seniors. Highly recommended.

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