Home Grown

Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico's War on Drugs

By Isaac Campos

344 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, 9 graphs, 4 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1372-7
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4303-6
    Published: April 2012
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-8268-9
    Published: April 2012

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Awards & distinctions

Honorable Mention, 2013 Bryce Wood Book Award, Latin American Studies Association

2013 Best Book Prize, New England Council of Latin American Studies

Historian Isaac Campos combines wide-ranging archival research with the latest scholarship on the social and cultural dimensions of drug-related behavior in this telling of marijuana's remarkable history in Mexico. Introduced in the sixteenth century by the Spanish, cannabis came to Mexico as an industrial fiber and symbol of European empire. But, Campos demonstrates, as it gradually spread to indigenous pharmacopoeias, then prisons and soldiers' barracks, it took on both a Mexican name--marijuana--and identity as a quintessentially "Mexican" drug. A century ago, Mexicans believed that marijuana could instantly trigger madness and violence in its users, and the drug was outlawed nationwide in 1920.

Home Grown thus traces the deep roots of the antidrug ideology and prohibitionist policies that anchor the drug-war violence that engulfs Mexico today. Campos also counters the standard narrative of modern drug wars, which casts global drug prohibition as a sort of informal American cultural colonization. Instead, he argues, Mexican ideas were the foundation for notions of "reefer madness" in the United States. This book is an indispensable guide for anyone who hopes to understand the deep and complex origins of marijuana’s controversial place in North American history.

About the Author

Isaac Campos is assistant professor of history at the University of Cincinnati.
For more information about Isaac Campos, visit the Author Page.


“A most welcome and important contribution to the history of marijuana prohibition. It has broadened our understanding of how we got to this place, and it belongs on the book shelf of every serious student of the topic.”--Drug War Chronicle

“Recommended. All levels/libraries.”--Choice

Home Grown is a must read for historians, criminologists, analysts, and policy-makers, alike, especially those interested in understanding the origins of Mexico’s current political and social unrest, the cultural underpinnings for marijuana prohibition, or the broader ‘War on Drugs.’”--Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Book Review

“Campos remedies the scarcity of historical work on the origins of drug prohibition in Latin America while pointing out the need to better understand the causes and consequences of these prohibitions if we are to grasp the current 'War on Drugs.' . . . [This] book is a call to arms.”--American Historical Review

“You don’t have to be a ‘pothead’ to enjoy and learn from Isaac Campos’s pioneering and carefully researched inquiry into the special plant-commodity identified botanically as cannabis. . . . Campos’s study comprehensively examines the ecological, sociocultural, and political dimensions of the history of human interaction with a plant.”--Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“Campos has reconfigured our understanding of the flow of ideas about marijuana.”--Hispanic American Historical Review

Multimedia & Links

Follow the author on Twitter @isaac_campos.

Read: Campos's guest blog post, "Today's Synthetic Drugs Provoking New Reefer Madness."