In Conversation with Emily Dufton
From the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, cannabis legislation in America and racism have been inextricably linked. In this searing nonfiction graphic novel, Box Brown sets his sights on this timely topic.
In 1518 CE Mexico, Cortés introduces hemp farming during his violent colonial campaign. In secret, locals begin cultivating the plant for consumption. It eventually makes its way to the United States through the immigrant labor force, where it's shared with black laborers. It doesn't take American lawmakers long to decry cannabis as the vice of "inferior races." To strengthen their anti-drug campaigns, legislators spread vicious lies about the dangers of cannabis. As a result, the plant is given a schedule I classification, alongside heroin.
Author and illustrator Box Brown delves deep into the complex and troubling history of cannabis, offering a rich, entertaining, and thoroughly researched graphic essay on the racist legacy of cannabis legislation in America.
Box Brown is an Ignatz Award-winning cartoonist, illustrator, and comic publisher from Philadelphia. His books include the New York Times-bestselling Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, Tetris: The Games People Play, and Is This Guy For Real?: The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman. Box Brown's independent comics publishing house, Retrofit Comics, was launched in 2011. boxbrown.com
Emily Dufton is a writer based near Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of New York University and received her Ph.D. in American Studies from George Washington University. Her first book, Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America, was based off her dissertation. She has served as a commentator on the History Channel and NPR’s Back Story with the American History Guys, and her work has been featured in the Washington Post, the Atlantic, History News Network, and Run Washington. She lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, with her husband and son.
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