Second RefAnnBib

Bibliography Entry:

Bourgois, Philippe. “The mystery of marijuana: science and the U.S. War on Drugs.” Substance use & misuse vol. 43,3-4 (2008): 581-3. doi:10.1080/10826080701884853


Background and Credibility of Author & Source:


Philippe Bourgois is an anthropology professor and the director of the Center for Social Medicine and Humanities in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles.


Substance Use & Misuse is a peer-reviewed medical journal focused on substance abuse. It has been published 14 times a year since its establishment in 1966.




Burgois begins the article by encouraging public health research workers to find new avenues of work by analyzing marijuana criminalization in a different way. He claims that focusing on “objective scientific evidence” is useless and unproductive towards finding the root of the problem. Burgois says that different types of research would help people get a better understanding of the weight marijuana holds socially and in the justice system. While he makes it clear that marijuana has its own risks, he mentions that it has been minimizing alcohol and narcotic abuse. Burgois concludes by criticizing the War on Drugs. Not only does he discuss that it failed its mission, he compares how other countries have successfully dealt with marijuana reform.




Even though that this article was filled with a little more academic jargon than I am used to, I was pleased to find out that it has a lot of evidence I can use in my paper. By using scholarly research to prove that the War on Drugs was/is a disaster Burgois is disproving a lot of the arguments that people opposing marijuana legalization use. The only problem with this paper is that the full, updated version is very expensive. Hopefully the evidence in it is enough, I can find a way to get the complete version, or I can find another argument with more numerical support.




“The mystery of why marijuana is so severely repressed by law enforcement should be especially humbling for public health researchers in the United States and for the field of science studies more broadly. It demonstrates the need for putting institutional power politics and the social construction of reality into the center of our analysis of drugs. It also drills home the naiveté of assuming that “objective scientific evidence” shapes drug policy, media coverage, and popular opinions and values.”


“It has not been enough to measure the spread of infectious diseases or the prevalence of risky practices. We need to examine the larger power relations that drive health, policy, and cultural values. The repression of marijuana illustrates this well.”

Leave a Reply