Michael Polson

Michael Polson

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I am anthropologist who has been studying the social transformation of cannabis for the past decade. I conduct research mostly in Northern California and focus on the material and discursive production of cannabis by cultivators and a panoply of actors ranging from law enforcement and policymakers to lawyers and real estate professionals. I am especially interested in the afterlife of prohibition as it shapes, is insinuated into, and transforms in post-legalization settings. I currently conduct research as part of UC Berkeley’s Cannabis Research Center, where I conduct ethnographic, survey, and interview research on the post-legalization dynamics of cannabis.



In Press. Exurban Fortress, Buttressed and Breached: The Exurban Fortress, Cannabis Activism and the Drug War’s Shifting Political Geography. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

2019. With Margiana Petersen-Rockney.  Cannabis Farmers or Criminals? Enforcement-First Approaches Fuel Disparity and Hinders Regulation. California Agriculture. Special Issue: Cannabis Production. 73(3): 185-193.

2019. Making Marijuana an Environmental Issue: Prohibition, Pollution, and Policy. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. 2(2). pp.229-251.

In Press. With Dillis C, Bodwitch H, Carah J, Carlson S, Power M, Sayre N. Industrializing Cannabis? Socio-Ecological Implications of Legalization and Regulation in California.” Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Cannabis Research. Eds. Meisel J & Corva D.  Routledge.

In Press. “Legalization and Prohibition: Breaks, Continuities, and the Shifting Terms of Racial-Capitalist Governance.” Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Cannabis Research. Eds. Meisel J & Corva D.  Routledge.