â€œMarijuana is not anti-establishment because itâ€™s illegal,â€ writes High Times Executive Editor David Bienenstock. â€œItâ€™s illegal because itâ€™s anti-establishment.â€
I doubt that, and I worry that such pharmacological essentialism reinforces the ideology underlying the war on drugs. The Official High Times Pot Smokerâ€™s Handbook (Chronicle Books), by Bienenstock and other editors of the magazine, suggests that marijuanaâ€™s fans, like its detractors, do not really believe â€œitâ€™s just a plant.â€ Even while decrying marijuana â€œstereotypes,â€ Bienenstock reinforces his own.
Still, this copiously illustrated, easily digestible book is filled with useful and entertaining features, including tips on joint rolling and pot growing, advice for avoiding trouble with the police while driving, and ratings of Manhattanâ€™s marijuana delivery services. Contrary to Bienenstockâ€™s contention that marijuanaâ€™s meaning does not hinge on its legal status, very little of this material would make sense without prohibition.