There's so much discussion in the contemporary United States about marijuana. Debates focus on legalization and medicalization. Usually, Reefer Madness, Harry Anslinger, and race are brought into the conversation. But a big part of the larger marijuana story is missing. In Chris S. Duvall's new book, The African Roots of Marijuana (Duke University Press, 2019), he tells a distinctly non-American story that nevertheless has important lessons for current debates. Duvall helps us understand cannabis as a crop, commodity, and tool in African culture and in the history of slavery. He showcases the plant-person relationship and offers valuable lessons about colonialism and rise of 'big marijuana' in 2019.
Lucas Richert is an associate professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He studies intoxicating substances and the pharmaceutical industry. He also examines the history of mental health.