Longform.org's Guide to Marijuana: Six great reads about the world of weed.

Longform.org's guide to the greatest long articles ever written.
July 2 2011 6:49 AM

The Longform.org Guide to Weed

Great stories about how marijuana is grown, bought, sold, smuggled, and smoked.


Every weekend, Longform.org shares a collection of great stories from its archive with Slate. For a daily selection of new and classic nonfiction, check out Longform.org or follow @longformorg on Twitter.

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Kid Cannabis Mark Binelli • Rolling Stone • October 2009

The story of how a 19-year-old kid in Idaho went from delivering pizza to leading a operation responsible for smuggling at least seven tons of marijuana across the Canadian border:

Nate and his friends were suddenly making—and spending—preposterous amounts of money. They bought four-wheelers, jet skis, plasma-screen televisions, minidisc players. "If it had a 'best' option, we had it," says Scuzz. Tim Hunt threw a lavish New Year's Eve lingerie party. Platinum jewelry, deemed not flashy enough, was returned for gold. Aside from Topher, everyone involved was in their teens and early twenties, which made the upswing in their collective lifestyle that much more radical.

Reefer Madness Eric Schlosser • Atlantic • August 1994

On marijuana's impact on national politics, the economy, and the prison system:

Marijuana is and has long been the most widely used illegal drug in the United States. It is used here more frequently than all other illegal drugs combined. According to conservative estimates, one third of the American population over the age of eleven has smoked marijuana at least once. More than 17 million Americans smoked it in 1992. At least three million smoke it on a daily basis. Unlike heroin or cocaine, which must be imported, anywhere from a quarter to half of the marijuana used in this country is grown here as well. Although popular stereotypes depict marijuana growers as aging hippies in northern California or Hawaii, the majority of the marijuana now cultivated in the United States is being grown in the nation's midsection—a swath running roughly from the Appalachians west to the Great Plains. Throughout this Marijuana Belt drug fortunes are being made by farmers who often seem to have stepped from a page of the old Saturday Evening Post.

My Kushy New Job Wells Tower • GQ • August 2010

Looking for a glimpse of America's possibly legalized future, a reporter spends a week working at an Amsterdam coffee shop (and confronts his fear of weed, kind of):

"I would kill to have your job" is a sentiment I'll hear from tourists by the dozen during my week behind the Dampkring bar, though in fact I anticipate the exercise with cold anxiety. Part of the job, I've already been told, will involve smoking weed in quantity, and marijuana and I do not make a happy team. "Paranoia" doesn't adequately get at what I suffer while I'm high. It's more like Ebola of the superego, a self-loathing catatonia of uncertainty and dread. When I'm stoned, Homo sapiens and its customs become terrifying and obscure. Shortly after the first good toke, I can almost hear a delicate shardwork of baffling human etiquette crystallizing in the air around me, making it impossible to so much as reach for a Cheeto without causing an apocalypse.


Have a favorite piece that we missed? Leave the link in the comments or tweet it to @ longformorg. For more great writing about drugs, check out Longform.org's complete archive on the subject.