Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A New Guidebook Just for Stoners

Can one get a "contact high" from reading a book? Well, I'm feeling a bit buzzy right now, after leafing through the beautifully-designed, intelligently-written "Cannabis Trips" by Bill Weinberg. And a bit paranoid, too. I'm writing this blog post from a Starbucks and I had the urge to hide the book from the three cops who just came in for their java.

Despite that heart-stopping moment (okay, it's fine guys, they've now left the store), I have to give a hearty, green thumbs up to this latest addition to the ever-growing ranks of specialty guidebooks. For its readers, who the author calls "ambassadors for the herb", Cannabis Trips promises to become the go-to resource for trip planning and inspiration. Handsome as a coffee table book, its jam-packed with down-to-earth, often humorously-written information on which cities are best to light up in, which hemp and "alternative lifestyle" festivals are worth the trip, and what the law is in each place, so your one-week vacation doesn't turn into a 10-year prison sentence. Though there's little-to-no info on restaurants or hotels (hey, there are other guidebooks for that), single-minded stoners will learn which buds are the best buy in each destination and the etiquette for partying (in India, you're looked down on if you smoke the stuff, rather than ingesting a bhang lassi; in Jamaica, you're supposed to take it slow, mahn).

But the book is more than just a simple guidebook. In many ways, it tells the history of the world from a stoner's point of view. Who knew that Napoleon's troops had to be reprimanded for getting high in front of Egypt's pyramids? Or that some scholars feel that marijuana is mentioned in the bible (the words kana and kanah bosom translated as sweet cane may actually be cannabis)?

A delightful read and one that you won't have to fire-up your bong to enjoy.

(Photo by Tomas de Aquino)

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