Smoke Signals by Martin A Lee
A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific

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A bestselling author of Acid Dreams tells the great American pot story— a panoramic, character-driven saga that examines the medical, recreational, scientific, and economic dimensions of the world’s most controversial plant.

Martin A. Lee traces the dramatic social history of marijuana from its origins to its emergence in the 1960s as a defining force in a culture war that has never ceased. Lee describes how the illicit marijuana subculture overcame government opposition and morphed into a dynamic, multibillion-dollar industry.

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Similar laws have followed in more than a dozen other states, but not without antagonistic responses from federal, state, and local law enforcement. Lee, an award-winning investigative journalist, draws attention to underreported scientific breakthroughs that are reshaping the therapeutic landscape. By mining the plant’s rich pharmacopoeia, medical researchers have developed promising treatments for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, chronic pain, and many other conditions that are beyond the reach of conventional cures.

Colorful, illuminating, and at times irreverent, this is a fascinating read for recreational users and patients, students and doctors, musicians and accountants, Baby Boomers and their kids, and anyone who has ever wondered about the secret life of this ubiquitous herb.

About Martin A Lee

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Martin A. Lee is the author of four books, including most recently Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific. He is the cofounder of the media watch group FAIR and the director of Project CBD, a medical science information service. He is also the author of Acid Dreams and The Beast Reawakens, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Magazine, Le Monde Diplomatique, Rolling Stone, The Nation,,, and
Published August 14, 2012 by Scribner. 529 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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There’s no smoking gun there, but there’s smoke aplenty in between thick, chunky blocks of scientific lore on such matters as the “discovery of the endocannabinoid system” and claims that cannabidiol, a major constituent of the plant, “lowers glucose levels, improves insulin sensitivity, and prot...

Aug 14 2012 | Read Full Review of Smoke Signals: A Social Histo...

Publishers Weekly

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In this accessible and well-researched analysis, Lee (Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond) offers a cultural reckoning of cannabis in its many incarnations, spanning from its first recorded utilization in 2700 B.C.E.

Aug 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Smoke Signals: A Social Histo...

The Boston Globe

Ironically, propaganda produced by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics only served to introduce marijuana to an ever-wider audience, where its popularity spread until it became, as Lee writes, “by far the most popular illicit substance in the United States.” Lee, whose earlier book “Acid Dreams” c...

Aug 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Smoke Signals: A Social Histo...

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Aug 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Smoke Signals: A Social Histo...

Business Week

researcher who has studied the potential economic effects of marijuana legalization, writes that if farmers nationwide were able to farm pot outdoors and in greenhouses, “a ‘joint’ might cost pennies rather than dollars.” Not only did America’s first big pot legalization vote go up in smoke, but...

Aug 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Smoke Signals: A Social Histo...

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