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Despite communist China's best efforts , Seattle Weekly 's own " Toke Signals " columnist Steve Elliott's The Little Black Book of Marijuana will indeed


Steve Elliott, SW's "Toke Signals" Columnist, Opens His Little Black Book of Marijuana

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Despite communist China's best efforts, Seattle Weekly's own "Toke Signals" columnist Steve Elliott's The Little Black Book of Marijuana will indeed be made available to humankind.

We got a green hit of the book before it gets passed around to store shelves nationwide this week.

Elliott, a man who runs a marijuana blog, pens a marijuana column, and writes full-length guidebooks to, you guessed it, marijuana, is not what most people would likely picture as such a professional.

Elliott isn't from Berkeley or Boulder, his hair isn't long enough to put in a ponytail or dreds, and, to our knowledge, he's quite terrible at hacky-sack.

The 51-year-old Alabaman-turned-Seattleite is, in his own words, a "writer, editor, ex-musician, dreamer, reality catcher, ex-con, and father of three." In short, he's the antithesis of the sterotypical professional pot smoker (no offense, William Breathes).

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Steve Elliott sees green.
Elliott is also a journalist. And it's his dogged reporting and attention to detail that makes his work on his blog, in his column, and in this new book so valuable.

From the opening sections of the Little Black Book, we're told the history of cannabis--from the ancient Scythians who threw pot seeds and flowers onto hot stones and were "elated by the vapor" to one of the first doctors to argue marijuana's medicinal value before an American Congress.

Understanding marijuana's place in the past is crucial to grasping its role in the present, and Elliott gives a brief but well-chosen sampling of the important parts of pot's story.

From cannabis' history, the Black Book turns to its medical benefits and risks. Needless to say, Elliott spends more time detailing the myriad benefits of pot than the drawbacks. But since science has been favoring cannabis more and more with seemingly every new report published, the rosy picture of the substance's medical benefits is largely justified.

Besides, few people who buy The Little Black Book of Marijuana will do so because they want to read a thorough examination of any and all of the remaining scientific doubts that exist concerning the plant.

In fact, the history and medical benefits of pot are likely not the reasons anyone would buy this book. And while the chapter on why marijuana should be legalized makes one of the most clear and concise arguments on the topic, that too is not the book's most enjoyable contribution.

The true heart of Elliott's book is in the later chapters, which cover cannabis cultivation, ways to use marijuana, strains of pot, and marijuana recipes.

Did you know, for example, that one can make a gravity bong using only a two-liter plastic bottle, some scissors, a bucket, and any kind of smoking bowl? Or have you heard that combining ground pot with peanut butter and spreading it on crackers means you never have to smoke weed again to get high?

Read Elliott's book and you'll know this and more.

From cover to cover, The Little Black Book of Marijuana delivers exactly what it promises: An easy-to-read, well-researched informatively entertaining "essential guide to the world of cannabis."

It's not the end-all of pot books, and there is plenty that the work leaves out. But if a cannabis fan was forced to choose one piece of weed-themed literature to bring with him or her to a deserted island (or even just on a long plane ride), it should probably be this one.

Available Sept. 15 in hardback and now in digital Kindle edition.

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