I have read more cannabis books than most I think. Part of it is due to the fact that I’ve been running this blog daily since January 2010, but even before Jay Smoker and I started this blog, I owned a large collection of cannabis literature. I would say that a bulk of my cannabis library involves cultivation books, as I’m sure is the case for many cannabis enthusiasts. But I also have books on cannabis science, cooking, books containing high resolution pictures of cannabis, books about cannabis games, and several other cannabis related topics.
I don’t think we have ever seen a cannabis book quite like the one Steve DeAngelo released today. Not since the Emperor Wears No Clothes by the late great Jack Herer has there been a book that could potentially reach as many people and change as many minds about the cannabis plant as The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness by Steve DeAngelo. Steve DeAngelo is the most recognizable face in the legal cannabis industry today, and the The Cannabis Manifesto is part Steve DeAngelo biography, part call to action, and part road map for the future of the cannabis industry, reform, and cannabis use for wellness purposes.
I was lucky enough to be on the list to get an advanced copy of the book. I have already read it twice. I also watched all three of Steve DeAngelo’s mini-documentaries. The mini-documentary series was released in anticipation of the release of The Cannabis Manifesto (You can watch all three videos at this link here, and read my review of video 1, video 2, and video 3). The book is a 175 pages long, and is a very smooth read.
One of my favorite parts about the book is that it is so laced with activism and tales from the front lines of reform. Just reading the book ‘acknowledgments’ page makes that obvious. It’s a virtual ‘who’s who’ of activists from throughout the last forty years of reform. On the very first page of the book are quotes offered up by four very esteemed people, and one very hardworking blogger that feels truly blessed to have his name found within the pages of such an amazing literary contribution to society. Ethan Nadelmann, who is one of my all-time heroes and who I have an activist man-crush on (I admit it, deal with it!), had the following to say about Steve DeAngelo and The Cannabis Manifesto:
“Steve DeAngelo says what needs to be said in this bold and thoughtful manifesto. He’s a role model for budding cannabis entrepreneurs who understand the unique relationship of this nascent industry to the broader struggle for freedom and justice in America.”
The book starts out with Steve explaining in the Preface that he was actually born at 4:20 am on June 12, 1958. Whether you think that’s completely coincidence, or if you think that some things happen for a reason, I think we can all agree that’s pretty cool.
There are 8 chapters or parts to The Cannabis Manifesto. One of them is something that I have stated on this blog many, many times – cannabis is not harmful, but prohibition is. That’s something that opponents don’t want to talk about. Prohibitionists want to spread propaganda full of lies and half truths in order to keep prohibition in place, but they always try to either downplay or ignore the harm that prohibition causes.
I always tell people that are on the fence about cannabis that we should all agree that if something is 114 times safer than alcohol, which is legal, then no one should have their life ruined for using it. They always agree. Then I say ‘so cannabis should not be prohibited then.’ People scratch their heads and ask me what I mean. After explaining that someone can be arrested, fined, have their financial aid revoked, be kicked out of their rental property, lose their job, or have their children taken away for simply having a personal amount of cannabis in their pocket, they usually understand what I mean.
The cannabis movement has gained a lot of traction in the political world in recent years because we have done a better job of pointing out just how horrible prohibition is. Steve tells a story in his book that I will be using in future discussions with cannabis opponents. The story involves the raid on Oaksterdam University in 2012. While the peaceful trade school was being raided by law enforcement seven students were shot across town in a senseless act of violence. It’s a very sad, unfortunate example of an improper allocation of law enforcement resources.
Would those officers have been able to save those lives that day? There’s no way to know. But I do know that having those officers free and not tied up in a stupid raid would have been something I would have much rather seen just in case it would have helped. It reminded me of a story in Southern Oregon where a woman called police to say that a man was at her door threatening to rape and kill her. The dispatcher stated that there was no-one to send. The woman was brutally attacked as a result. Meanwhile the same officers that couldn’t be dispatched were busy preparing to raid a peaceful medical cannabis dispensary in the same area. Sadly, those stories are all to common. If an opponent wants to think that cannabis prohibition only affects cannabis consumers, think again.
It always surprises me how many people don’t know how cannabis became illegal in the first place. The Cannabis Manifesto has a chapter completely dedicated to it. I have changed so many minds over the years by just simply stating the facts of how cannabis became illegal so many decades ago. I have to assume that this book will change many minds, and if you get your hands on the book, make sure to show that chapter to anyone you know that is on the fence about cannabis reform.
The Cannabis Manifesto is full of facts about medical cannabis. I hear politicians say all the time that ‘there needs to be more research before laws are reformed.’ The Cannabis Manifesto shatters that delay tactic. No one can read this book from front to back and tell me that there needs to be more research on the subject of the medical benefits of cannabis.
I love how The Cannabis Manifesto explains the concept of social entrepreneurship. If you watch the video series that Steve DeAngelo released, you will hear him explain how the founder of High Times Magazine taught him the concept of social entrepreneurship. Essentially, you can use business to bring about social justice reform. It’s a concept that every cannabis business should buy into, and sadly, not enough do.
Cannabis businesses are always portrayed as the boogie man by cannabis opponents. They make it sound like cannabis businesses make communities unlivable. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Every cannabis business that exists and runs a good business is a good steward of the image of the industry to those that are not in the industry. People from the community see the business operating with no issues, and think ‘wow, that is not what I expected when I heard there was a cannabis business in the area.’ Those same people then go tell others, and minds are changed. It’s even more effective when those cannabis businesses volunteer in their communities, donate to community causes, and do other things to be good members of the communities that they operate in.
Steve DeAngelo ends his book with a type of pep talk/call to action. I think whenever I feel down about things, which happens from time to time when struggling to balance my day job, this blog, and life, I’m going to read that chapter. Like I said, I have read it twice now, and both times I felt encouraged and excited for what the future holds for the cannabis reform movement and cannabis industry.
Steve DeAngelo understands that cannabis activism and the cannabis industry cannot be separated. Too many people in this industry are all about taking, but aren’t about giving back and/or getting their hands dirty on the front lines of activism. I hope that The Cannabis Manifesto helps change that. If everyone that benefited from the cannabis industry gave back to reform adequately, cannabis prohibition would end nationwide much faster than it is now.
The Cannabis Manifesto will likely go down in the history books as the most influential cannabis book of all time. It is being released at a crucial time, as the entire nation is rethinking cannabis laws an starting to embrace the cannabis plant and what it can do for the economy, for medicine, and for many other things. I will be making sure that everyone I know hears about this book, and you better believe it’s going to be the hot gift item from Johnny Green going forward.
The Cannabis Manifesto truly is a well written, informative, thought provoking book. As I alluded to at the beginning of the article, a quote I offered up to the publishing company made the final cut, and is the first thing that you read on the first page of the book. I cannot express in words how much of an honor that is. I have always respected Steve DeAngelo and admired his work from afar, and to have my included in the book is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Get Steve DeAngelo’s book as soon as you can, which can be ordered at this link here. When you order a copy of the book at that link, you get access to all kinds of free bonus goodies. Buy copies for people that you know. Share it with anyone and everyone that needs to know more about cannabis, the movement, the industry, and using cannabis for wellness purposes! I want to see this book become a New York Times bestseller, an move the conversation about cannabis further into the mainstream!