An underground culture of cannabis enthusiasts existed for decades across the country long before legalization. In fact, much of the progress made in the area of legalization throughout the past decade can be attributed to strong voices within the cannabis community and their advocacy work in dispelling misconceptions about cannabis use.
Literature, in particular, has been a potent force for social change, with several landmark publications earning a place in the annals of cannabis history for their role in rehabilitating cannabis’s image among the American populace. Likewise, great works of literature have contributed to public awareness of cannabis by virtue of including detailed descriptions of its effects and use. Here are some selections from among the best cannabis books for you to add to your library.
The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer
Jack Herer is perhaps one of the best-known activists in the history of marijuana legalization, and for good reason. Besides his tireless efforts in combating falsehoods about cannabis through his leadership of Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP), Herer also wrote one of the most widely circulated books advocating for legalization, The Emperor Wears No Clothes.
This cannabis book, written over the course of a decade, presented the most comprehensive argument in favor of cannabis legalization up to that point, providing an invaluable resource for legalization activists and laying the groundwork for efforts that would follow its publication in the years to come. Today, The Emperor Wears No Clothes is remembered for opening the door to the conversation that would eventually transform the landscape of America’s cannabis laws.
High in America by Patrick Anderson
A memoir of the founding of the most influential cannabis legalization organization in America, High in America by Patrick Anderson charts the course of the establishment of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. Published only 10 years after the birth of the organization in 1971, Anderson follows NORML leader Keith Strop on a wild journey through America’s cannabis counterculture that often dips into surreal and psychedelic encounters.
Smoke Signals by Martin Lee
Published in 2012, Smoke Signals provides a recollection of cannabis history in America from a more modern perspective, taking a special focus on the role of cannabis in influencing American society throughout the decades of its prohibition and beyond. Smoke Signals is significant among cannabis books for its ability to draw connections not only between our present world and the world of fifty years ago, but also the world of the 19th century in America and the conditions for cannabis use that existed in that period.
The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
No list of cannabis books can be complete without at least one entry from the Beat Generation of writers, and Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums is probably the most relevant example, taking the reader on a marijuana-fueled quest through the western United States. Kerouac’s stark and vivid prose results in a beautiful composition that captures the essence of a time when cannabis’s suitability as a spiritual guide was just beginning to take hold in the public consciousness.
And we’re sure we don’t have to tell you that these books are best enjoyed after rolling a fat one. Find your nearest Have a Heart location below!