Drugs and culture

By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  December 4, 2008

University of Southern Maine professor Wendy Chapkis usually studies, teaches, and writes about gender issues, so her latest non-fiction outing, Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine, might seem like a bit of a departure. Not so.

The history of the medical marijuana movement owes large debts to the feminist health networks of the 1960s and '70s, as well as to the AIDS activist movement. Socially marginalized groups were allies for the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), a famous California cannabis collective that provides narrative and historical fodder for Chapkis and her co-author, Richard Webb.

Alternating between medical history and the personal stories of WAMM members and medical marijuana patients, the authors offer a compelling take on the political and cultural debates that surround this issue. This book should be required reading for politicians and activists in Maine, where the medical marijuana laws leave something to be desired.

Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine | by Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb | New York University Press | 272 pages | $22

Related: Pot bill progresses in Augusta, Who’s afraid of medical marijuana?, Going to pot, More more >
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