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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.

Brooklyn Rail logo(2)

Sharing 14 of my favorite reads this year. Here they are in no particular order (except for the first one, which was my absolute favorite):

  1. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver

    From The Poisonwood Bible's beginning: Leah Price: We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle. My sisters and I were all counting on having one birthday apiece during our twelve-month mission. "And heaven knows," our mother predicted, "they won't have Betty Crocker in the Congo."

    From the beginning: Leah Price: “We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle. My sisters and I were all counting on having one birthday apiece during our twelve-month mission. “And heaven knows,” our mother predicted, “they won’t have Betty Crocker in the Congo.”

  2. War Sebastian Junger
  3. A New Leaf Alyson Martin & Nushin Rashidian
  4. Orange is the New Black Piper Kerman
  5. Sex at Dawn Christopher Ryan, PhD & Cacilda Jethá, MD
  6. Swamplandia! Karen Russell

    As I said on Twitter, I could go Pentecostal over how much I loved this book.

    Chapter One of Swamplandia! and as I said on Twitter, I could go Pentecostal over how much I loved this book.

  7. More than Conquerors Megan Hustad
  8. Don’t Cry Mary Gaitskill
  9. Vanity Fair William Thackeray
  10. Self-Help Lorrie Moore
  11. Why We Broke Up Daniel Handler & illustrator Maira Kalman

    In Why We Broke Up, an illustration of an unfolded note.

    In Why We Broke Up, an illustration of an unfolded note, confessing: “I can’t stop thinking about you.”

  12. Cut Me Loose Leah Vincent
  13. Drift Rachel Maddow
  14. The New Digital Age Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen

To buy these books, check Indie Bound to see if your local, independent bookstore already has a copy.

Happy reading in 2015! Any recommendations?

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