This book by Marne Venture, a well-known children’s author and blogger, is one of the Pros and Cons series of books put out by Focus Readers. Published in 2018, this book has the advantage of being recent and much of the information it contains is as up to date as it can be, given how rapidly our knowledge of marijuana is changing since its legalization in Canada and in 33 American states.

Ventura’s goal is to provide young readers with balanced information, with clear arguments in favour of legalizing marijuana and clear arguments against. In this respect, Pros and Cons: The Debate About Legalizing Marijuana mostly succeeds. Ventura does lean toward consensus of opinion, which may not be entirely accurate in some instances. For example, not all researchers would agree, as Ventura states, that marijuana is a safer alternative to more dangerous painkillers, for example.

What is most important about this book is that it will promote a dialogue with youth about marijuana use that is less likely to be polarized than the one we are currently witnessing in North America. Presently we see pro-legalization advocates stating such misinformation as “marijuana is harmless” and anti-legalization advocates ignoring the fact that many adults have been able to use marijuana without incident for many years. The risk with extremely negative arguments on either side is that they do not ring true to people’s personal experience.

In Canada and the United States, legal marijuana is a reality. While it will not be legal for minors, some youth are still using marijuana and most are thinking about it. Books like Ventura’s, which come to the debate without bias will be viewed as credible to readers seeking understanding.

(Note: I read the 2018 Focus Readers hardcover edition of this book.)

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