“The inside scoop on how marijuana landed on Main Street . . . and why it’s coming soon to a city near you.”—Katie Couric
From gleaming dispensaries stocked with elegantly wrapped edibles to the array of CBD lotions and oils for sale at your local drugstore to tastemaker Martha Stewart cooking up marijuana munchies on prime-time television, one thing is clear: Pot has fully shed its stoner image.
In this deeply reported journey into the new world of legal cannabis, award-winning reporter Heather Cabot takes readers on the road with Snoop Dogg and his business partner Ted Chung as they roll out the star’s own brand of bud; to California wine country, where chefs and vintners are ushering in a new age of elevated dining; on wild adventures with marijuana mogul Beth Stavola, for whom fending off shady characters is just another day at the office; and to rural Canada to meet the Willy Wonka of Weed.
Drawing on exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names in the world of cannabis, Cabot’s book explores the confluence of social, economic, and political forces that have brought marijuana into the mainstream. Among them, outrage over the racial injustice of U.S. drug laws, the booming self-care industry catering to stressed-out professionals and busy parents in search of better sleep and more sex, seniors clamoring for natural alternatives to opioids to manage their aches and pains, and tens of millions of investor dollars fueling a frenetic “green rush” mentality.
The story of an astonishing rebranding, The New Chardonnay explores how a plant that was once the subject of multimillion-dollar public service announcements came to spark new culinary trends; inspire new uses for health, beauty, and wellness; and generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and untold tax revenue—all while remaining federally illegal in America.
Journalist Cabot (coauthor, Geek Girl Rising) delivers an admiring examination of shifting attitudes toward cannabis and of the activists and entrepreneurs behind that change. Cabot follows Beth Stavola, a New Jersey mom of six and former Wall Street executive, as she invests in Arizona's medical marijuana industry and expands into well-appointed dispensaries in Nevada and Maryland. Cabot also showcases unexpected legalization advocates, such as former U.S. attorney and devout Mormon Mel McDonald, who changed his opinion on marijuana after seeing how it helped his son's chronic epilepsy. Readers also meet Bruce Linton, the "Willy Wonka of Weed," so dubbed because he opened up what would become the world's largest growing facility in a former Hershey's chocolate processing plant in Smiths Falls, Ontario; and "cannabis chef" Jeff Danzer, whose tasteless, odorless, but precisely dosable cannabinoid oil enabled him to create gourmet food and drink experiences with a mild THC buzz. The diversity and respectability of these entrepreneurs helps to underscore Cabot's central argument that "Chardonnay moms" looking to "shrug off the day" or to maximize their "wellness" are the new target market for cannabis products, and her clear affection for and appreciation of her subjects makes for juicy reading. Those seeking an agnostic investigation of these developments, though, should look elsewhere.