To some it's antisocial anathema, to others it is a harmless way to relax, or provides relief from crippling pain. Some fear it is a dangerous drug that leads to 'reefer madness' and addiction; to others still it is a legal anomaly and should be decriminalized. Whatever the viewpoint, and by whatever name it is known, cannabis - or marijuana, hashish, pot, dope, kif, weed, dagga, grass, ganja - incites debate at every level. In this definitive study, Martin Booth - author of the acclaimed OPIUM: A HISTORY - charts the history of cannabis from the Neolithic period to the present day. It is a fascinating, colourful tale of medical advance, religious enlightenment, political subterfuge and human rights; of law enforcement and customs officers, smugglers, street pushers, gang warfare, writers, artists, musicians, hippies and pot-heads. Booth chronicles the remarkable and often mystifying process through which cannabis, a relatively harmless substance, became outlawed throughout the Western world, and the devastating effect such legislation has had on the global economy.
Above all, he demonstrates how the case for decriminalization remains one of the twenty-first century's hottest topics.