A Short History
Brookings Institutions Press 2016
New Books in HistoryNew Books in LawNew Books in MedicineNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books Network April 15, 2017 Lilly Goren
John Hudak‘s book Marijuana: A Short History (Brookings Institutions Press, 2016) is an accessible and informative dive into marijuana on a number of levels and from a variety of perspectives. Hudak unpacks and explains the historical place of marijuana in the United States, and the way that marijuana is situated within the criminal justice system, and how it is understood within our cultural vernacular and moral perspectives of what is right and wrong, legal and illegal. As marijuana now seems to be on a journey towards decriminalization or legalization in a number of states in the U.S., Hudak explores the way in which marijuana became an illegal substance, and how it is connected to the demonization of others–most specifically Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, and the American counter-culture of earlier decades. The history of marijuana is fascinating because it highlights the evolution of various forms of regulation in the United States; and, as marijuanas classification in some states is changing (in terms of the legal access to medical marijuana or the legalization of recreational marijuana), Hudak examines the constraints within the regulatory system that make those changes more difficult to execute. This text weaves together a variety of analytical perspectives, from political science, public policy, public administration, cultural studies, sociology, and criminal justice, in exploring marijuana.