Monday memo #11: Shakespeare Smokes Dope

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Each day at the The Browser ( we recommend five or six pieces of outstanding new writing. In the Monday Memo we plunder our archives to bring you our all-time favourites on a current theme. Today's theme: Cannabis — as smoked by Shakespeare, allegedly

The Budding Bard

Smoking cannabis will not make you write like Shakespeare, any more than cutting an ear off will make you paint like Van Gogh. But still, the news that Shakespeare enjoyed his pipe (according to The Week ( ), no doubt in strict moderation, rather confirms the impression that he would have been a most entertaining dinner-guest.

— Robert Cottrell, Editor, The Browser

But did he get high with Hamnet? Is it OK for Dad to smoke marijuana with the kids? (New Republic ( )

In Amsterdam everybody smokes cannabis. Wells Tower gets a job in a cannabis café and says it’s like working at Starbucks. (GQ ( ).

In Mendocino everyone grows cannabis. John Gravois moves there 2009 and finds that the local economy is two-thirds dependent on drugs.  (Washington Monthly ( )

Lee Ellis works there in 2013 and finds the dependence closer to 100%. (The Believer ( )

Peter Thiel is investing $75m in building the Coke of dope. Insert your own joke about joint ventures here (FT ( )

— Robert Cottrell
If you haven’t looked in on The Browser for a while, please do drop by. Our five most recent recommendations are always free to view; the rest are for subscribers.

Subscribers get unlimited access to the site; and the full text of recommended articles from the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, The Economist and Foreign Affairs; and the option to receive our daily content by email; and an extremely neat set of buttons for saving recommended articles to Pocket and other read-later services.

In fact, if you would like to renew your subscription right now, here's a link ( which will do the job. We will ask you for an email address, nothing more, and then show you a little pop-up window from Stripe (or Paypal if you prefer) to make the payment. We don't see your financial details.

With best wishes,

Robert Cottrell, Editor
Duncan Brown, Publisher

Join 150,000+ curious readers who grow with us every day

No spam. No nonsense. Unsubscribe anytime.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription
Please enter a valid email address!
You've successfully subscribed to The Browser
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in
Could not sign in! Login link expired. Click here to retry
Cookies must be enabled in your browser to sign in