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Author Martin A. Lee to discuss Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific, at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, 202 Harvard Drive S.E., in a free lecture on Friday, February 22, at 7pm.  The talk will be preceded by a performance by Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy.

In an entertaining overview of his new book, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific, Martin A. Lee will discuss how cannabis first took root in the western hemisphere, why the U.S. government banned “the evil weed” during the Great Depression, and how a decades-old grassroots countercultural movement for marijuana legalization evolved into today’s widespread populist revolt against conventional medicine and extra-constitutional authority. Lee examines the racist origins of America’s ongoing war on drugs and identifies the key sociological factors that triggered the surge of marijuana use among American youth in 1960s. California became the first of several states to break ranks from America’s drug war juggernaut by legalizing medical marijuana in 1996, a development that set the stage for a burgeoning multibillion-dollar industry and catalyzed recent successful efforts to legalize marijuana for adult use in Washington and Colorado.


Martin A Lee is the author of four books, including Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific (Scribner 2012). Historian Douglas Brinkley said of Smoke Signals: “Every American should read this landmark book.” Lee isdirector of Project CBD, a cannabinoid science information service, and a cofounder of the media watch group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting). Interviewed for numerous public affairs news and talk shows, Lee has been a guest on CBS 48 Hours, CNN, BBC-TV and radio, Democracy Now, the History Channel, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR’s Fresh Air, and C-Span. His articles have been published in many media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, Salon, Daily Beast, San Francisco Chronicle and Le Monde Diplomatique.


"[A] well-reasoned, entertainingly written, and passionate examination of the social and culture war that surrounds the drug." —Booklist


“In this accessible and well-researched analysis, Lee offers a cultural reckoning of cannabis in its many incarnations, spanning from its first recorded utilization in 2700 B.C.E. to the present … a compelling read and an excellent source of information on the topic.” —Publishers Weekly

“[E]xuberant, richly researched.” –Boston Globe

“Highbut not dry … a lively and informative book.” —Larry Gabriel, Detroit Metro Times

“This is a brilliant book … Smoke Signals is destined to be a classic.” –Mikki Norris, West Coast Leaf


“As Martin A. Lee shows in Smoke Signals, his engaging and illuminating new history, marijuana’s contraband status is a result of historical accident, racial prejudice, xenophobia, loads of cultural baggage, and an astonishing amount of ignorance.” – Jacob Sullum, Reason


“Lee’s new book is the precise educational tool that our country currently needs … Smoke Signals should be required reading in every high school history class.” –David J. Brown, author, Mavericks of Medicine


"A ripping read, thoroughly researched, Smoke Signals will help inform the current debate and hopefully hasten the demise of prohibition.” —David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

For copies of the book, photos, or interviews with Martin A. Lee, contact Pia Gallegos, (505) 220-9985.



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