A medical marijuana primer Writer searches high and low for best weed.

New Jersey will open its first medical marijuana dispensary in the fall—nearly three years after a medical marijuana bill was signed into law—but according to writer Mark Haskell Smith, whose new book is a personal tour of the cannabis industry, the East Coast has a lot of catching up to do.

“The University of California put out an agricultural guide to California, and far and away, marijuana is the state’s biggest cash crop,” said the author of Heart of Dankness, which Broadway Books will publish next week. (The official pub date is April 20, also known as Weed Day.) “It’s [worth] $2 billion to $3 billion in L.A. County alone.”

Mr. Smith’s search for the perfect weed—which is described as “dank”—took him to Amsterdam and to dispensaries in the U.S. and Canada. Though liberal drug laws gave the Dutch a head start on cultivation, he believes American growers are now on the cutting edge.

“Colorado is going to be the [No. 1] place,” he said. “They’re more progressive with their medical laws. People who used to have shops in Amsterdam have moved there.”

He argues that medical marijuana is not a cover for overall legalization, which he supports. “There are hundreds of things it can treat,” he said.
—matthew flamm

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