“I’ve never smoked marijuana,” TV journalist Trish Regan confesses, “and haven’t ever been particularly close to anyone who has.” Her book Joint Ventures: Inside America’s Almost Legal Marijuana Industry (Wiley) is nevertheless a strikingly sympathetic account of the businesses springing up in the gray zone created by medical marijuana laws.
Based on the research she did for two highly rated CNBC documentaries, Regan shows that the Obama administration’s combination of tolerant talk with aggressive police action has encouraged a “green rush” in places such as California and Colorado without eliminating the legal jeopardy that generates black-market profits.
While conceding that many dispensary customers have dubious medical complaints, Regan supports access to cannabis for bona fide patients and is decidedly unalarmed at the prospect of general legalization. “For better or worse,” she writes, “we’re on the road to becoming a Marijuana Nation.” —Jacob Sullum
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