Freedom Leaf Magazine - April 2016

Page 76

BOOK REVIEW

The Newbie’s Guide to Cannabis & the Industry Longtime hemp expert Chris Conrad and coauthor Jeremy Daw have written a book for stoners and curious cannabusiness observers alike. The Newbie’s Guide to Cannabis & the Industry, from Whitman Publishing (which also released Paul Armentano’s The Citizen’s Guide to State-byState Marijuana Laws, excerpted in Issue 12) looks, feels and reads like a textbook. The hardcover design and 240 glossy pages are perfect to place in a knapsack on the way to Oaksterdam University, where Conrad teaches a “Politics & History” course at the Oakland, Calif. cannabis institute. Now, all of his students can get the book and read along as he chronicles the long road from prohibition to legalization. The chapters titled “The Slippery Slope of Prohibition” and “Looking Past Prohibition” cover just that. Chapter 2 (“How Did We Get Here?”) traces cannabis’ timeline, from its origins in China dating back 5,000 years to Canada’s election of pro-pot Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2015. That’s a lot of years to cover, but the authors manage to touch all the right bases. Besides politics and history, The Newbie’s Guide devotes chapters to the various methods of consuming cannabis; medical marijuana; and the plant’s place in society. Three chapters toward the end focus on growing, harvesting and processing, and propagation and breeding.The latter chapter has a good strains section under the subhead “Heritage Cannabis Genetics.” The breakdown of the five U.S. schedules that drugs are separated into is also particularly helpful. The business side of the book, however, is less compelling. The authors are based in California, but their observations

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Activist, author and hempster Chris Conrad.

have little to offer prospective businesses in states with much stricter medical marijuana laws, like New York or Minnesota, where the licensing process is extremely expensive and competitive. How does one navigate the byzantine rules established by various laws and implemented by health departments? This is not the book to find out. Conrad founded the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp in 1989, and wrote Hemp: Lifeline to the Future in 1993. In his newest book’s “Time for Hemp” chapter, he takes a stand against extracting CBD from hemp. “Using medical-grade bud and trim to make extracts is a more practical way to go,” he advises. Conrad also questions the wisdom of having “scantily clad 420 Girls… at some of the more raucous conventions around the U.S.,” and points to “badly named strains,” like Green Crack, “which create problems for medical users and providers.” Laid out like the textbook it is, The Newbie’s Guide contains way too many blank spaces and generic photos. It could have used some sharper art direction. But the writing is solid. With any luck, this book will be updated many times and go through numerous printings. — Steve Bloom

april 2016