A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition (The New Press, 2014) By Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian

A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition (The New Press, 2014)
By Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian

The professional networking organization Women Grow invited investigative journalists Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian to discuss their critically acclaimed book A New Leaf with a room full of budding cannabis entrepreneurs. The atmosphere was abuzz with curiosity in the eclectic office of Meier Advertising, when the authors took center stage in front of a mirrored armoire.

Alyson and Nushin gave off the jocular vibe of colleagues who have spent a lot of time finishing one another’s sentences. After completing Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, they set off in a red VW Beetle (nicknamed Maude), planning to drive to every state with a medical cannabis law in order to document the efforts behind legalizing its use. The longer Alyson and Nushin drove, the further they had to go: from 2009 to 2012, one state after the other changed their cannabis laws. With a weary chortle, the authors said they had lapped the country four times, covering over 30,000 miles, chasing the ever-expanding landscape of cannabis legalization.

As a result, A New Leaf became a comprehensive presentation of the gradual legalization and adoption of cannabis use into American society. Many firsthand accounts of historic moments, such as the vibrant Seattle scene when Initiative 502 passed to legalize cannabis for personal use, are captured in the book and brought to life through in-depth interviews with patients, growers, researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, politicians, and regulators. Deft storytellers, Alyson and Nushin distilled their findings into a fast-paced, riveting read about the 75-year cannabis prohibition coming to an end in the United States.

After I had a chance to, er, inhale A New Leaf, we met for this interview at the Made in New York Media Center where Alyson and Nushin are preparing to launch a multimedia news site–Cannabis Wire–“to inform the experiment” of legal cannabis.

The interview What We are Talking about when We Talk about Cannabis: Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian in conversation with Amy Deneson can be read at The Brooklyn Rail.

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