Barely Legal: The Politics of Pot in America

Photograph by Ashton Doyle
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"420" is a quasi-mystical number for pot smokers. According to stoner lore, it was the time of day, in the 1970s, that a small group of smokers at San Rafael High School in California would meet to get high. The number has come down to us as "the universal time to get high" and/or a nice shorthand for marijuana. For our purposes, it's a flimsy but serviceable pretext to spend this week -- anchored as it is by Wednesday, 4/20 -- digging into the politics of pot in America. Check back here for regular updates throughout the week.

 

 


"420 Week" Coverage 

Real Time Host Bill Maher on Offshore Pot Smoking and the War on Drugs
"Is it one of our top 10 problems, to legalize pot? No, but ending the drug war would be a great way to save a metric fuckton of money."

The State of Marijuana Law Reform in America
A look at the past year's progress and setbacks on the road to a saner drug policy

Marijuana Law Reform: What's Next?
Interview with legalization advocate Ethan Nadelmann on the outlook for the year ahead

Pot By the Numbers
How many Americans have smoked up? Where is public opinion on medical marijuana? Legalization? Answers to these and other questions

Plus:

Listen: Peter Tosh's Pro-Weed Classic 'Legalize It'
Revisit the title track of a roots-reggae masterpiece

The 15 Greatest Stoner Songs
It's an eclectic playlist, but each track has a mellow vibe and a deep, passionate love for marijuana


From the Archives: Rolling Stone on Drug Law Reform and the War on Drugs

Just Say Now
In August 2010, Ari Berman reported on Proposition 19, California's legalization initiative, which came close to passing the following November

MarijuanAmerica
Mark Binelli wrote in April 2010 about the green revolution sweeping across the nation, from California to downtown Detroit, and changing the weed business forever

How the Cartels Work
Guy Lawson's September 2009 report on how Mexican drug lords have transformed the narcotics trade in America, leaving the DEA appears powerless to stop them

Plus: Guy Lawson on Mexican Drug Lords and How the Cartels Work (Video)

A Drug War Truce?
Tim Dickinson's June 2009 look at the drug policy of the Obama administration and the growing pressure for marijuana law reform

The War Next Door
In November 2008, Guy Lawson wrote about Mexico's descent into violent chaos as drug cartels battled the government

How America Lost the War on Drugs
Back in December 2007, Ben Wallace-Wells wrote about how, after thirty-five years and $500 billion, drugs are as cheap and plentiful as ever.

The Great California Weed Rush
Vanessa Grigoriadis' February 2007 report on how medical marijuana is turning L.A. pot dealers into semi-legit businessmen