Legalization Nation Columnist David Downs Preps ‘Medical Marijuana Guide Book’ Release, Appearances, Online Lecture


Not a week goes by that patients don’t contact us with questions like, “My doctor recommended medical marijuana for my partner’s cancer, but that’s all he would say. What do I do? Where do we go?”

I also get questions like, "What is a vaporizer?", or "What's high-CBD pot?"

Americans’ thirst for the facts about accessing and using medical cannabis legally and safely has never been greater.

Well, your dedicated Legalization Nation columnist, David Downs, has collected answers to your most frequently asked questions and packaged them in book form for patients nationwide this spring.

Legalization Nation columnist David Downs - COURTESY OF UC BERKELEY EXTENSION
  • Courtesy of UC Berkeley Extension
  • Legalization Nation columnist David Downs

Now available for pre-order direct from the publisher, Whitman, as well as through Amazon and Barnes & Noble — the Medical Marijuana Guide Book is a concise, professionally written, and vetted reference manual for accessing medical marijuana legally and safely in the 35 medical cannabis and CBD states. The book comes directly out of six years of reporting and writing the Legalization Nation column for the Express, where I’ve done my best to answer questions from around the country and the world.

The Medical Marijuana Guide Book is the first book to succinctly and clearly explain the specific steps to becoming a legal patient in each medical marijuana state, combined with more general information, such as how to find good dispensaries and products. It's sort of — but for US medical pot.

The Guide Book details the typical indications for medical cannabis as well as the most common strains and other modalities that patients are using for those indications. The manuscript was reviewed by leading doctors, researchers, and industry experts, and now we’re ready to roll it out.

"David Downs does a great job of summarizing the most useful things to know about medical cannabis, both for the cannabis-experienced, as well as cannabis-naive patient," states Berkeley clinician, Dr. Frank H. Lucido.

"The Medical Marijuana Guide Book is a concise, well documented, handbook for people who need practical advice on negotiating access to medical cannabis. It's especially useful because it covers the gamut from state laws to doctors to caregivers and the types of cannabis preparations available in dispensaries, according to various state laws," states Dale Deutsch, PhD.

This is my fourth book project in four years, including: our best-selling cannabis extract and vaporizer book Beyond Buds (2014) which has sold 20,000 copies and counting; the Guide Book; and a return to crop science with July title Marijuana Harvest, by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. I also ghost-edited a 2015 bestseller on pot policy.

Like a TripAdvisor for medical marijuana — David Downs's 'Medical Marijuana Guide Book' comes out this Spring. - WHITMAN PUBLISHING
  • Whitman Publishing
  • Like a TripAdvisor for medical marijuana — David Downs's 'Medical Marijuana Guide Book' comes out this Spring.

This Sunday, I’ll be making my first appearance related to the book, on hit YouTube Vlogger Coral Reefer’s show Stony Sunday — broadcast live from San Francisco, Sunday at 12 p.m.

A Bay Area book release party is in the works, and I’ll also be guest bud-tending at leading dispensaries and online providers, as well as releasing a series of opinion articles stemming from the book’s research.

We'll also be updating Medical Marijuana Guide Book information for book owners and online subscribers at throughout 2016. 

The Medical Marijuana Guide Book is only possible thanks to Legalization Nation’s phenomenal readers: the patients, activists, allies, clinicians, researchers, and industry operators who’ve been our sources since 2010, when federal raids were commonplace and prison a reality. So I’d like to say thanks for the opportunity to serve this community, and I hope the book helps.


On a related note, aspiring journalists, bloggers, and people that want to be more media-savvy can also go behind the scenes of "Legalization Nation" through a UC Berkeley online extension course featuring a guest lecture from me this spring.

UC Berkeley Extensions’ Journalism Workshop JOURN X473 is a “practical, task-based introduction to news writing and reporting" where viewers can "learn standards embraced by the best media practitioners, old and new. Study story selection and planning. Learn how to develop sources; interview and research; write fast, vivid prose; and revise and edit. You also get an introduction to multimedia and blogging.”

Course director Katya Cengel and I walk students through the cannabis beat, general skills for beat reporting, as well as the transition from beats to books.

Got questions? Keep them coming at, or in the comments below.