"This is a beautifully written account from the front lines of a struggle between a federal drug war complex determined to keep demonizing marijuana and the growing movement of patients and doctors who have found marijuana to be a valuable medicine. Voters in California and many other states have strongly supported the patients. The moving stories in this book show why."
--Craig Reinarman, co-author of Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice
"Chapkis and Webb have done a masterful job in describing the intricacies of the drug debate and offer brilliant analysis on a complex and controversial subject. Both baby boomers and the current teenage population will find this book important and compelling reading."
--erry Williams, author of Crackhouse: Notes from the End of the Line
"Chapkis and Webb’s new book provides a human element to the history, pharmacology, psychology, and politics of medical marijuana in a way that no other work has. The book is as riveting as a detective novel, as informative as a textbook, and as moving as a romance. I loved reading it and sure wish I’d written it."
--Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., Author of Understanding Marijuana
Marijuana as medicine has been a politically charged topic in this country for more than three decades. Despite overwhelming public support and growing scientific evidence of its therapeutic effects (relief of the nausea caused by chemotherapy for cancer and AIDS, control over seizures or spasticity caused by epilepsy or MS, and relief from chronic and acute pain, to name a few), the drug remains illegal under federal law.
In Dying to Get High, noted sociologists Wendy Chapkis and Richard J. Webb investigate one community of seriously-ill patients fighting the federal government for the right to use physician-recommended marijuana. Based in Santa Cruz, California, the Wo/MenA?Â?s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) is a unique patient-caregiver cooperative providing marijuana free of charge to mostly terminally ill members. For a brief period in 2004, it even operated the only legal non-governmental medical marijuana garden in the country, protected by the federal courts against the DEA.
Using as their stage this fascinating profile of one remarkable organization, Chapkis and Webb tackle the broader, complex history of medical marijuana in America. Through compelling interviews with patients, public officials, law enforcement officers and physicians, Chapkis and Webb ask what distinguishes a legitimate patient from an illegitimate A?Â?pothead,A?Â? A?Â?goodA?Â? drugs from A?Â?bad,A?Â? medicinal effects from A?Â?just getting high.A?Â? Dying to Get High combines abstract argument and the messier terrain of how people actually live, suffer and die, and offers a moving account of what is at stake in ongoing debates over the legalization of medical marijuana.