Okay, "must" may be a bit strong, but before heading off on vacation for two weeks (and leaving you in the capable hands of my fellow bloggers), I want to mention two new books that deserve attention from anyone interested in marijuana and marijuana policy.
Despite the awful title, "Dying to Get High" is one of the most interesting books yet written about medical marijuana. Authors Wendy Chapkis and Richard J. Webb focus on the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), a patient-run collective in Santa Cruz, Calif., that was the subject of a notorious federal raid in 2002. But they also take a broader look at the issue, including how modern medicine evolved its current distaste for "crude plant products," as medical marijuana is sometimes termed.
Also worth a serious look is "The Science of Marijuana" (second edition) by Leslie L. Iversen. Iversen, an Oxford University professor of pharmacology and member of the British government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, gives a thorough and thoughtful overview of what science knows about marijuana and cannabinoids -- not a brief for any side in marijuana policy debates but a solid, straightforward review of the data, in reasonably non-technical terms. If you're attracted to the idea that policy should be based on actual facts, "The Science of Marijuana" belongs on your shelf.