My book is about a relatively brief but amazing period in American social history—an incredibly dynamic three years from 2009 to 2012 during which something unprecedented happened—marijuana left the underground world of illegality and blossomed into a mainstream industry, becoming the fastest-growing economic engine in California before the feds swooped in and put pot back in its "proper" place.

The weed runners who inhabit the book are pioneers of the future American pot economy, whatever form it ultimately takes. Some of them are martyrs who paved the way for the explosion of medical marijuana. They lost their liberty by trying to accomplish too much too soon. Others followed in their footsteps, some more cautiously than others, risking everything including their own freedom to push the limits of this grand experiment.

As the book reveals, some weed runners have better intentions than others, and the well-intentioned ironically have tended to suffer worse fates at the hands of the law for their efforts. Some are smarter or just luckier than others, too. Generally speaking, these outlaw capitalists are the weed runners who have decidedly remained in the underground pot economy—or at least kept part of their portfolio firmly rooted in America's illicit pot trade. They view themselves as the next Jamesons and Johnnie Walkers. They are modern-day bootleggers who have helped lay the nationwide foundation for the brand-name marijuana of today and tomorrow.

Jared Boggess

For them, the medical-marijuana industry—and the war to curtail it—is just a sideshow. They know that until full legalization occurs, the real profits from pot will come from one source: smuggling weed across the country the good old-fashioned way. Regardless of the debate over medical marijuana, and certainly without regard for the law, they will be meeting America's incessant demand for weed one high-risk shipment at a time.

Adapted from Nick Schou's new book, The Weed Runners, now available at

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