Books (with Links to Amazon or Publisher Websites) – Listed from Most Recent
There are an increasing number of books on the legal cannabis industry – ranging from academic textbooks to how-to books and first-hand accounts of industry pioneers. Below I have tried to provide some commentary on available books for prospective readers. Please feel free to contact me with other book suggestions or requests (Updated October 3, 2022)
Can Legal Weed Win? Understanding the Blunt Realities of Cannabis Economics (July 2022, University of California Press)
The authors describe their book as “Two economists take readers on a tour of the economics of legal and illegal weed, showing where cannabis regulation has gone wrong and how it could do better.”
Understanding Medical Cannabis: Critical Issues and Perspectives for Human Service Professionals (Dec 2020, Routledge, Edited by Joanne Levine, available free to UVA community through UVA library website)
I wrote a chapter on the Business of Cannabis for this textbook.
The Cannabis Business: Understanding Law, Finance, and Governance in America’s Newest Industry (Dec 2020, Routledge, available free to UVA community through UVA library website)
A textbook-style book focused on cannabis law, written by two lawyers from cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg. I have yet to read this 215-page book but look forward to doing so!
Investing in Cannabis: The Next Great Investment Opportunity – Dan Ahrens (Nov 2020, Wiley)
Advice on investing in Cannabis from a practicing investment manager. I have not read this book and would caution that any advice on cannabis investing should be received carefully and skeptically, particularly given the rapid pace of change in the industry.
American Hemp Farmer – Adventures and Misadventures in the Cannabis Trade – Doug Fine (April 2020)
Another cannabis-industry book from the author of 2012’s Too High to Fail and 2014’s Hemp Bound (described below)
Cannabis Capital: How to Get Your Business Funded in the Cannabis Economy – Ross O’Brien (January 2020)
This book is written by the Founder & Managing Partner of cannabis venture capital fund Bonaventure Equity as a guide to funding opportunities in the cannabis space. I have not read it!
Cannabis on Campus: Changing the Dialogue in the Wake of Legalization Cite – Jonathan Beazley and Stephanie Field (2018, Routledge, available free to UVA community through the UVA library website)
A very specific book aimed at those with an interest in the implications of legalization on cannabis usage and policies on college campuses.
The Business of Cannabis: New Policies for the New Marijuana Industry – DJ Summers (2018)
A description of the legalization process from an Alaska journalist. More Alaska-focused than the title would suggest.
Grass Roots: the Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America – Emily Dufton (2017, UVA Call Number HV5822.M3 D874 2017)
Looks at the changes in marijuana acceptance within U.S. and asks why legalization failed to occur in the 1960s and instead took another 40+ years. The introduction of this book alone provides a great overview of the timeline of legalization in the United States. The remainder of the book is a bit repetitive in places but effectively provides a deeper dive into the key individuals and events of the past few decades than has been covered elsewhere, in particular on the role played by anti-marijuana parent groups. Two key insights I took away from the rest of the book were 1) factors that led to the rise and fall of both pro-marijuana groups such as NORML and anti-marijuana parent groups over the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s , and 2) insight into how the current trend toward legalization could potentially be reversed if new opposition groups or watershed events occur. (New Republic review Nov 2017) (MerryJane review Jan 2018)
Marijuana Law, Policy and Authority – Rob Mikos (2017)
An academic law textbook. “The textbook explores the fascinating legal issues that surround marijuana users, their suppliers, and the sundry third parties (e.g., physicians, lawyers, employers, investors, etc.) who deal with them.”
Navigating Safe Harbor: Cannabis Banking in a Time of Uncertainty – Sundie Seefried, CEO and President of Partner Colorado Credit Union (2016)
Describes the author’s first-hand experience designing a full-scope cannabis banking program as CEO and president of Partner Colorado Credit Union located in Denver, Colorado. A very detailed book for those with a specific interest in cannabis banking.
Marijuana – A Short History – John Hudak (2016)
A concise, factual book focused on the history of both national and state public policy regarding marijuana. Does not focus on business matters.
Brave New Weed – Adventures Into the Uncharted World of Cannabis – Joe Dolce (2016)
“An educational and entertaining trip around the globe.” The author visits Amsterdam, Israel, California, and Colorado in a quest to analyze and experience the changing marijuana culture and industry. More time is spent on historical and medical topics than on business-related matters.
Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know – Jonathan P. Caulkins, Beau Kilmer, Mark A.R. Kleiman (2016)
Part of a series of “What Everyone Needs to Know” books written by public policy experts from the RAND institute. Focused on providing a balanced overview of the legalization pros and cons rather than business insights.
Big Weed – An Entrepreneur’s High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business – Christian Hageseth, Joseph D’Agnese (2015)
The first-hand, personal story of a Colorado entrepreneur’s entrance into the marijuana industry. Hageseth’s predictions for the future of his business have not quite turned out as hoped.
Weed the People – The Future of Legal Marijuana in America – Bruce Barcott (2015, UVA Call # HV5822.M3 B374 2015)
A skeptical author investigates the history and future of legal marijuana. Well-written by an experienced author.
Stoned – A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana – David Casarett (2015, UVA Call # RM666.C266 C3755 2015)
Focuses on the medical rather than business aspects of marijuana. The author is a Professor of Medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine. Cannabist interview with author.
Dreamland – The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic – Sam Quinones (2015, UVA Call # HV5840.M4 Q56 2015)
While this book is not about the cannabis industry it provides great insight into the causes of opioid epidemic – focusing on overprescription in 1990s and influx of black-tar heroin from Mexico into United States.
A New Leaf – The End of Cannabis Prohibition – Alyson Martin, Nushin Radishan (2014, UVA Call # HV5822.M3 M376 2014 – Law Stacks)
Two investigative journalists travel across the U.S. to the states where medical marijuana has been legalized.
Marijuana Nation – One Man’s Chronicle of America Getting High – From Vietnam to Legalization – Roger Roffman (2014)
A retired professor tells a personal story of his positive and negative experiences with marijuana dating back to the Vietnam War. Not particularly business focused.
Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution – Doug Fine (2014)
Bestselling author Doug Fine embarks on a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women who are testing, researching, and pioneering hemp’s applications for the twenty-first century.
Marijuana is Safer – So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? – 2nd Edition – Fox, Armentano, Tvert (2013)
A pro-legalization argument from authors who contributed to Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana. One of the authors (Mason Tvert) was a guest speaker in my Business of Marijuana class.
Smoke Signals – A Social History of Marijuana – Medical Recreational and Scientific – Martin Lee (2013)
A historical summary from a pro-marijuana investigative journalist.
Too High to Fail – Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution – Doug Fine (2012, UVA Library Call # HD9019.M38 F56 2012)
An upbeat, humorous story of the author’s move to Mendocino County, California, center of the California medical marijuana industry.
Pot Inc – Inside Medical Marijuana – America’s Most Outlaw Industry– Greg Campbell (2012)
A curious Colorado resident investigates the emerging medical marijuana industry.
The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis – Edited by Julie Holland (MD) in 2010 with contributions by Andrew Weil, Michael Pollan, Lester Grinspoon, Allen St. Pierre (NORML), Tommy Chong, and others. Covers marijuana’s physiological and psychological effects, its medicinal uses, the complex politics of cannabis law, pot and parenting, its role in creativity, business, and spirituality, and other related topics.
The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy: – Jack Herer (First edition 1985, 12th edition 2010)
A history of hemp’s myriad uses and of the war on this plant.
The Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States – Richard J. Bonnie; Charles H. Whitebread II (1974, Paperback 1999) – This comprehensive history of marijuana use and prohibition in the United States is co-authored by UVA law professor Richard Bonnie and examines the origins and history of marijuana prohibition and the unintended consequences of the laws.