Marijuana Legalization as Frontier Capitalism

Lecture | April 10 | 3:30-5 p.m. | Barrows Hall, 820/Social Science Matrix

 Dr. Erica Lagalisse, Postdoctoral Fellow, London School of Economics

 Michael Polson, Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley

 Cannabis Research Center, Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, UCB/UCSF Program in Medical Anthropology

Erica Lagalisse’s ongoing multi-sited ethnographic research of both medical(ized) and black-market marijuana production, distribution and consumption suggests that the legalization of marijuana functions as a form of frontier capitalism. Traditional producers are not granted rights to the marijuana strains and products they have developed; their appropriation by elites constitutes a form of primitive accumulation. This process is facilitated by traditional producers being cast as “violent” while new white, wealthy, corporate marijuana entrepreneurs are described as “safe” through constructed associations with medicine, purity, and “healing”—constructions of “health” are always political, class-making devices, brought to inaugurate class rights and the respectability of some at the expense of others.

  RSVP by emailing Michael Polson at by April 10

 Oakland, CA 94609,