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Toys Test High Morality In 'Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America' Preview (Exclusive)

Box Brown's new nonfiction graphic novel takes a look at how weed has been treated by the authorities in the U.S. across the decades.
Box Brown/First Second
Box Brown's new nonfiction graphic novel takes a look at how weed has been treated by the authorities in the U.S. across the decades.

Scientific studies in the early 20th century were strange and wonderful things — especially when they were exploring such hot-button topics as the effect that cannabis use has on people in an era when Reefer Madness was taken seriously as a cautionary tale. That’s just one of the subjects in the new graphic novel Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America, from critically acclaimed cartoonist Box Brown.

The latest nonfiction book from Brown, whose previous releases include Tetris: The Games People Play and Is This Guy for Real? The Unbelievable Andy KaufmanCannabis investigates the history of cannabis legalization in the United States, paying close attention to the role racism has played on that subject across the years.

In the excerpt below, Brown looks at a 1930s study commissioned by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to observe the effects of cannabis on 18 different people, using toys as a method to investigate how — if at all — people’s morality was impacted by smoking.

Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America, published by Macmillan imprint First Second, is available now in bookstores.









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