Marijuana in America

Cultural, Political, and Medical Controversies

by James Hawdon, Matthew Costello, and Bryan Lee Miller, Editors


Analysts report that legal marijuana grew into a $10.4 billion industry in the United States in 2018, with an estimated 250,000 jobs devoted just to the cultivation and handling of marijuana plants.

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Cover image for Marijuana in America

April 2021


Pages 423
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Current Events and Issues/Society
  Health & Wellness/Addiction and Substance Abuse
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This A–Z encyclopedia provides a broad and evenhanded overview of America's complex relationship with marijuana, examining political, recreational, cultural, medical, and economic aspects of marijuana use both historically and in the present day.

Marijuana in America is an accessible and comprehensive exploration of the many changes in medical, legal, and cultural issues surrounding cannabis in the United States. This multidisciplinary volume features contributions from several different fields to explain all facets of marijuana, from its chemical composition to the historical, legal, and social setting in which marijuana use occurs and its depiction in popular culture.

A mix of coverage provides readers with a full and accurate understanding of the spectrum of issues and controversies swirling around marijuana today, including: the changing legal landscape pertaining to the sale, possession, and use of marijuana, both at the state and federal levels; the factual basis for arguments for and against so-called "medical marijuana"; claims that marijuana is a gateway drug to harder drugs; changing cultural attitudes about marijuana and "potheads"; economic arguments for and against marijuana legalization; and the impact of marijuana on families, communities, the economy, and the criminal justice system.


  • Detailed, authoritative, and evenhanded coverage of all medical, legal, cultural, and economic aspects of legal and illegal marijuana in America.
  • Information sources for further research included in each entry.
  • Timeline of legal, cultural, and social events and trends concerning marijuana and its use in the United States.
  • Contributions from several different fields giving the volume a multidisciplinary focus.
Author Info

Dan Keding serves as adjunct lecturer at the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and performs as a storyteller, author, and folk musician. His published works include Stories of Hope and Spirit: Folktakes from Eastern Europe, a book which received the Anne Izard Storyteller's Choice Award and the Storytelling World Honor Award. Keding also won the National Storytelling Network's Circle of Excellence Award presented for exceptional commitment and exemplary contributions to the art of storytelling.

Kathleen A. Brinkmann produces and hosts UPTV's The Stories We Tell, a program of recorded concerts, interviews with authors, and storytellers. She is also a spoken word artist, writer, and scholar of folktales. She founded the Champaign-Urbana Storytelling Guild in 2001, where she served as secretary, treasurer, and president for several years. She holds a master's degree in folktales and storytelling from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

James Hawdon, PhD, is professor of sociology and director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech. He is an executive member of the Division of Drug and Alcohol Research Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. His research focuses on drugs and society, online extremism, and communities and social control.

Matthew Costello, PhD, is assistant professor of sociology at Clemson University. His research focuses on online extremism and political violence.

Bryan Lee Miller, PhD, is associate professor at Clemson University, Fulbright Scholar at Tampere University, and chair of the Division of Drug and Alcohol Research Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. His research focuses on drugs and society, criminology theory, and criminal justice policy.

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