Monday, June 26, 2006

Bud Inc.: Inside Canada's Marijuana Industry - Ian Mulgrew

The Basics: Bud Inc.: Inside Canada's Marijuana Industry, Ian Mulgrew, 2005, 287 pages, hardcover, nominated for the National Business Book Award 2005.

How I found it: It was recommended to me by because I purchased The Golden Spruce (very good book, I recommend it). I also noticed it on the Halifax library's recent non-fiction acquisitions.

What's it about?: It is supposed to be an expose of what the marijuana industry is really like on the inside, and to some degree it accomplishes that. However, I'd say it is more a book about the fight for legalization or decriminalization of pot. Either way, it is a fascinating look at an industry that most Canadians know little about.

Did I like it?: Yes, I liked it. I'm generally for the decriminalization and regulation of the marijuana industry, which might explain why I sympathized with Mulgrew's arguments (though I'm not nearly as voracious about it as he is). I found the whole book rather interesting since it presented an alternative view the one the mainstream media gives us. The part I found most interesting was the section of the book devoted to the scandal surround the Da Kine Cafe, a cafe that openly sold marijuana on Vancouver's Commercial Drive in 2004. I lived on the drive at the time so hearing the inside story of what when on with that cafe was fascinating as an alternative to the media coverage the event received at the time.

Will you like it?: If you don't support decriminalization, you probably won't like this book. Mulgrew consistently refers to the illegal status of pot as "prohibition" and makes comparisons with the prohibition on alcohol in the 1920s. As well, Mulgrew doesn't touch on the violent side of marijuana cultivation very much - bikers, Asian gangs, etc. get only cursory references and not in-depth examination. Mulgrew explains this away saying that those groups comprise about 3% of pot growers and most of the media attention, but while that might be correct, I think they still deserve investigation. Pot is big business in Canada and when/if it becomes legal there will be some big opportunities there.

But don't take my word for it: Editorial reviews, mixed reader reviews. Unfortunately that's all I can find besides highly biased reviews from both sides of the drug war debate.

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