A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition
by David E. Newton
January 2017, 372pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5051-6
$66, £51, 58€, A91
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5052-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Despite the fact that a majority of U.S. citizens now feel that marijuana should be legal, cannabis remains a potent drug that has serious ramifications for public health and safety.

This single-volume resource provides sound, up-to-date information and authoritative resources for research on the controversial topics of the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes and the effects of marijuana use on society.

The use of marijuana has consistently been a highly controversial, polarizing, and emotional topic, so much so that social, cultural, and religious factors have largely influenced public opinion, legislation, and law enforcement’s treatment of marijuana use. At the same time, much of the scientific information about the plant has largely been ignored in the policies and practices of the United States over the past 100 years.

Marijuana: A Reference Handbook provides detailed coverage of the history and background of marijuana use in society, with special emphasis on the present day in the United States. It outlines the development of federal and state legislation with respect to marijuana use over the last century, focusing on changes that are taking place in the second decade of the 21st century, and examines the pros and cons of the use of marijuana for a variety of purposes. The book presents readers with unbiased, research-based information about the effects, benefits, and risks of marijuana use. Readers will also learn about the role of hemp across human history and about very recent legislative action on the use of marijuana for both recreational purposes and medical use.


  • Provides readers with an in-depth understanding of the way in which marijuana has been treated in the nation's long-running "war on drugs"
  • Presents arguments both for and against the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes
  • Offers a variety of resources that readers can use for further study of the subject
  • Contains a chapter with selections from important documents in the history of marijuana use, including laws and court cases that deal with the substance and its use and abuse
David E. Newton, EdD, has been a freelance writer of nonfiction books and ancillary materials for young adults for nearly 55 years. He has published more than 400 textbooks, research manuals, trade books, encyclopedias, and encyclopedia articles as well as lab manuals, problems books, and other educational materials. His published work includes ABC-CLIO's Gay and Lesbian Rights: A Resource Handbook; GMO Food: A Reference Handbook; The Global Water Crisis: A Reference Handbook; Social Issues in Science and Technology: An Encyclopedia; Wind Energy: A Reference Handbook; World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook; The Ozone Dilemma: A Reference Handbook; Fracking: A Reference Handbook; Environmental Justice: A Reference Handbook; Science and Political Controversy: A Reference Handbook; The Animal Experimentation Debate: A Reference Handbook; and Vaccination Controversies: A Reference Handbook. He has also been an updating and consulting editor on a number of books and reference works, such as The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Discoveries in Modern Science: Exploration, Invention, and Technology, and Science in Context. Newton was formerly a teacher of high school science and mathematics in Grand Rapids, MI, for 13 years; professor of chemistry and physics at Salem State College for 15 years; and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco for 10 years. He holds a doctorate in science education from Harvard University as well as a bachelor's degree in chemistry (with high distinction) and a master's degree in education from the University of Michigan.


"With additional profiles of important persons and organizations, updated resources for further research, and an amplified selection of primary materials, the second edition remains an excellent companion for those needing a primer on this controversial and rapidly changing topic. Summing Up: Recommended. High school through undergraduate students; general readers; professionals/practitioners."—Choice, August 1, 2017

"Compact 'all in one' reference information without highly charged political commentary."—Library Journal, July 1, 2017

"This reference work presents unbiased information and provides essential material for students researching this topic for reports or personal knowledge. Recommended."—School Library Connection, August 1, 2017

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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