Roll up for marijuana book launch

Newport author Michael Clark will recount his experiences working in the Northern California medical marijuana industry this Sunday, Nov. 18, at a launch party for his first book “The Quiet Blossom.”

The nonfiction work is a personal narrative — part memoir and part ethnography — that reflects the cultural and social implications of what was then a black-market industry.

“Marijuana is hot topic everywhere at the moment, and very contentious,” Clark said. “There is a great deal of discussion about the legality and the medical aspects of the plant, but there has been little acknowledgement of the culture that has formed around the industry and the impact it has had on our society. There is a massive influx of annual migrants to Northern California and Southern Oregon, and with that comes the generation of new ideas, values and lifestyles. Every time a growing season ends, those multitudes return to their homes, or travel elsewhere and those ideas are carried around the world and shared. There is a great and hidden power in that.”

“The Quiet Blossom” gives a firsthand account of a farmer’s life during the days of prohibition. It ranges from the amusing clashes of culture between various farming communities to the dangers of the trade and the dark side of an illegal industry.

A Newport native, Clark has a degree in cultural anthropology from Oregon State University. His interest in culture inspired him to take notes of the events in Northern California during the six years he was involved in the medical marijuana industry. Recognizing that the unique culture was not likely to survive legal reforms, he decided to document the experience for the sake of history and with the hope that he could offer another perspective on this endlessly controversial topic.

The book release party will run from 2 to 5 pm at the Newport Visual Arts Center, 777 NW Beach Drive. Books will be available for purchase.

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