Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser – In Reefer Madness, the best-selling author of Fast Food Nation investigates America’s black market and its far-reaching. REEFER MADNESS: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market. Eric Schlosser, Author. Houghton Mifflin $23 (p) ISBN In Reefer Madness the best-selling author of Fast Food Nation turns his exacting .. In Reefer Madness, investigative journalist Eric Schlosser exposes three of.

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REEFER MADNESS: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market

The 3 themes are the marijuana market, migrant farm workers, and the porn industry. Reefer Madness is a difficult book to review because, in practice, it’s actually three completely distinct essays, tied together at the front and the back.

But this isn’t just entertainment or edification. That was fine as mdness as it went and I don’t know that I’ll ever buy strawberries again.

The section on migrant farm workers is also very informative and eye opening. A comic-book salesman in Cleveland builds a pornography empire and turns the modern porn industry into resfer mainstream multi-billion dollar business.

Reefer Madness ( book) – Wikipedia

Dainty, white-haired southern women – ladies you could easily imagine singing hymns in a Baptist reefee – were smiling and chatting and packing brightly coloured dildos into boxes. We have placed our faith in the laws of supply and demand. The discrepancy between law and consumption is alarming and Schlosser points this out through primary accounts and excellent research.

Judging by sales, Americans love pot and porn, but live in a country that has law about them that are more strict than most any other developed nation. There is much more to it than that but this book shows the war on drugs to be the worst sign of government incompetence.


Feb 02, Brandon T. Schlosser’s high-density, high-quality research alone would provide much the same interesting tone as in the first essay, but combined with the rise and fall of Reuben Sturman it becomes electric and intensely personal. That Sturman was able madnrss launder and hide his profits off shore in the same manner as drug dealers and, for example, Enron was interesting, as was the way Schlosser chronicles how pornography has become such a huge business that reefdr now accounts reefed a significant part of the revenues macness some Fortune companies.

Though disparate topics, Eric Schlosser hits on many themes that echo within each piece and ties the book together as a whole. The underground economy is not marginal, and its size should concern us not because of potential tax revenues lost by corrupt porn kings like Reuben Sturman, but because they fundamentally alter the rules that everyone else plays by.

Reefer Madness

I was amused to read that the citizens of the Virginia colony were required by law to grow hemp and that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew marijuana plants as part of their farm. To his credit, his treatment of the issue does a fair job of both humanizing migrants and of explaining the pressures on growers to use migrants, giving the reasons for poor labor conditions without demonizing or forgiving unnecessarily.

In a way the war itself is scary because it has been suggested that if you are caught with even one joint you can be classified as a dealer, locked up, and have all of your possessions confiscated, even before you have been convicted.

The historical angle of the story is also a welcome addition, one rarely heard in today’s rhetorical war. Particularly mind-boggling are the contracts created by Kirk Produce Incorporated.

How can consuming something as harmless as a joint warrant a harsher sentence than what is often handed out to murderers or other violent criminals? He started out maybe in one place and wound up in a very different place.


If pharmaceutical companies could package it and sell it as profitably as a pill, it would probably be in every corner pharmacy. He’s got oodles of references at the back of the book, but you can’t really link them to statements in the body.

Jan 23, Rachel rated it really liked it Shelves: The second essay, entitled “In the Strawberry Fields,” is about Mexican laborers in virtual peonage in California, the history of this phenomenon, its politics, its economic consequences, and the reality of today’s conditions in the field and across the border. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

Well written, but overall badly done Eric Schlosser charts this growth, and finds its roots in the nexus of ingenuity, greed, idealism, and hypocrisy that is American culture.

The section on pot is detailed, but still misses a lot. I had already read the first one, found it on the internet, and liked it. He deals with this subject objectively, discussing the costs and benefits of illegal immigrant serfdom from the point of view of growers and workers alike.

Chief among these is the case of one Mark Young who was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for introducing a marijuana grower to a dealer. He delves into the career or Ruben Sturman, who was the leading figure in the porn industry for most of the twentieth century, finally brought down int he 90s by a tax evasion suit.

Nevertheless, this is a solid—and timely—second effort from Schlosser. Fantastic history of marijuana and migrant farm workers. A number of eirc have compared his work to that of Upton Sinclair.