marijuana project book coverReviewed by Leigh Adamkiewicz

In The Marijuana Project a medicinal marijuana company is looking to set up their first facility in recently-legalized New Jersey. Sam – a hard-working consultant – has been hired to create their security protocols. Sam’s an openly conservative war hawk who isn’t exactly on board the legalization train. But money is money, so he takes the job. He enjoys the mental puzzle of protecting something that is both legal and illegal at the same time.

But then, an unknown threat presents itself. And things start to get complicated.

This book has done its homework. The descriptions of the strategies and security risks that come with legalization are spelled out in meticulous detail. And the details give us a better framework as to why the conflicts in the book develop the way they do. It spells out how new industries must make changes and concessions. And it shows how moral preconceptions can sometimes be the biggest challenges.

I’ve never seen a book about legalization discuss as many different studies as this one has. It really does pull every piece of research on marijuana usage, and tries to work out how each study fits into the larger picture.

But I have to confess, I was confused about why Sam demonized recreational use. Why would a professed libertarian like Sam be opposed to the growth of small businesses and the free market? Why would a man who is already profiting from marijuana products be furious at other people trying to find the same success? Where is the moral line for Sam?

In all honesty, I’m not sure. In a book filled with meticulous detail, Sam is the only thing that is out of focus. It’s mentioned that Sam has a strong Christian faith about ¾ of the way through the book. But there’s almost no evidence of that until it is brought up. It’s mentioned that he’s a little overweight and has a slipped disk in his back. But earlier he described himself as a master of self-defense. This sounds like an interesting guy. I want to see Sam as an individual. But his personality only comes up when it relates to the actions around him. And that makes it harder to see how he changes throughout the course of his journey.

Three of my friends have had chemotherapy in the last five years. I’ve seen how medicinal marijuana has improved people’s lives. And I’ve heard many diatribes about marijuana, from both sides of the aisle. But this book is one of the few conservative takes on the subject that didn’t treat me like a child. It tries to give a bird’s eye view, and shows how people’s views of a controversial topic grow and change.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Leigh is a fearless writer who never met a genre, subject, or format she didn’t like. She has written professionally for the past six years and enjoys biking, exploring odd corners of Northeast Ohio, and discovering those good books she hasn’t read yet.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Brian Laslow.