Weed - A New Zealand Story. By James Borrowdale

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  • A fascinating journey through the life and times of cannabis in New Zealand.

  • ‘I just closed my eyes and drifted away. I drifted away to the music but I don’t think I’d ever experienced anything quite so soothing and magical. It was like I was in a magical space. It was beautiful.’— Jim Mahoney, former drug user

  • Pot, Mary Jane, dope, skunk, grass, hash, green, hooch, herb, ganja, reefer. New Zealand loves weed.

  • It’s the most popular illegal drug in our country and third most popular drug overall, behind alcohol and tobacco, yet it also represents a troubled relationship.

  • In Weed, award-winning journalist James Borrowdale dives in deep to understand that relationship, meeting a fascinating cross-section of New Zealand along the way – a nineteenth-century nun who allegedly grew pot, a bystander to the Mr Asia syndicate, a convicted heroin dealer turned criminologist, people both using and offering the drug for medicinal relief, politicians and law-makers old and new.

  • What’s revealed is an engrossing, heady and sometimes surprising account of New Zealand and weed.

  • Fusing insightful, personal stories with analysis and historical research, Weed lays out the facts as they are – about an issue that can no longer be ignored.

  • 'Borrowdale intertwines his deeply personal journey with a much bigger narrative, bringing to life the strange, compelling and often misunderstood story of cannabis in Aotearoa.' - David Farrier

  • 'The best book yet on cannabis and New Zealanders.' - Russell Brown


Published: 2 July 2020

ISBN: 9780143774327

Imprint: Penguin

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 272


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  • About the author
  • James Borrowdale is an award-winning journalist and travel writer, and the former online editor of VICE New Zealand. His essays and features have appeared in Metro, North & South, the Sunday Star-Times, Kia Ora, The Spinoff and VICE, among many other publications. Weed is James’s first book. He lives in West Auckland.