THE MARIJUANA PROJECT a novel about medicine and morality aka “a security expert’s journey through the ethical weeds.”
Sam Burnett, a savvy security expert, is hiding in the catwalk of a medical marijuana production facility he has been hired to protect, caught in a surveillance plan he never thought he’d face.
In fact, Sam, a conservative family man who travels the country as a highly sought after security expert, doesn’t even approve of marijuana and wonders why he’s still working there.
Over the course of two years designing, implementing and operating the entire security program for MedLeaf, Sam faces one moral conflict after another.
Does he favor using medical marijuana to relieve a variety of physical symptoms, easing anxiety and providing pleasure?
Or does he see it as an invitation to more serious drug use, mental instability and irresponsible, even dangerous behavior?
You could call it a security expert’s journey through the ethical weeds.
At first, Sam realizes that medical marijuana needs to be protected from ending up in the wrong hands and that taking the job means he can be home much more than before.
But even the positive things Sam learns about medical marijuana are at odds with his religious upbringing and his conservative views about drug use, legal or otherwise.
When his son’s best friend is killed in a car accident caused by a driver under the influence of medical marijuana, Sam reaches his breaking point and takes matters into his own hands, which leads to a potentially dangerous confrontation with his employers and a group of unknown provocateurs.
In the end, he must decide if he can personally continue to participate in the protection and perpetuation of this industry. Sam Burnett’s dilemma is similar to that of millions of Americans. His story will resonate for all those struggling to make sense of this changing landscape in our society.
When you first see the title for this book, you assume you know right away what kind of book this will be. I even noticed a different reaction when I posted an excerpt. People I know, who aren’t big fans of reading and who never comment or follow my blog were suddenly liking the post. It’s ironic, because had they actually attempted to read the description, they would notice the main character is actually against the use of marijuana, even for medicinal reasons. Needless to say, this is proof that the author was smart to use this hot button topic as a major plot point. It draws attention from people and I wouldn’t be surprised if it draws in people who aren’t necessarily big on reading.
This book had a lot of information in regards to not only security issues and how they can be addressed, but also marijuana as a whole. It’s evident that the author spent a lot of time researching this topic. My only criticism is that maybe too much time was dedicated towards explaining security matters. I know this is a major part of the plot, but it actually causes the pacing to become weighed down in the beginning and though it’s interesting, cutting back on a few of the steps or a few of the specifics wouldn’t have harmed the story and would have easily fixed the pacing issue. I also wish the suspense aspect of the story would have started a little earlier. Without giving away the ending, I think there could have been a way to start the process even before the production facility was open and have it tie in seamlessly without ruining the twist at the end.
As for the ending, I actually really liked the twist at the end. I am typically one of those readers who can predict at least the who, the what or the why. But in this case, I never even considered the possibility of what was truly going on. I think in part, this is because of the author’s excellent job at leading the reader in one direction. But I also can’t help but wonder if part of it is because of the main character, Sam.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a pot head. I’ve never even tried it. While I respected his opinion on legalizing marijuana over all, I think the disconnect comes from his strong apprehension towards medicinal marijuana. But I am apparently more liberal than the character and I was highly annoyed at his extreme overreaction of marijuana being legalized in another state, across the country. His downward spiral because of it was annoying and honestly, I felt it was way too extreme. Especially as he is trying to discuss the matter with his young children. It was almost as if he was crazed and as a reader, it left me with little to no interest in any of his ideas or thoughts on the matter for the remainder of the book. This of course, is only a personal reaction to a very small scene towards the beginning of the book. Regardless of this, I actually was able to continue on with the book and find a real appreciation for the story, even though I didn’t like the main character. This is a rarity for me and I contribute it to the author’s ability to formulate a suspenseful plot that kept my attention.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and I recommend it. At the very least, you’ll find a lot of information about something that is slowly becoming a larger movement within our country. At the most, you find a suspenseful plot that will keep you guessing until the truth is finally revealed.
Reviewer’s note: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.