Author to discuss ‘The New Pot Barons’

September 18, 2014

Tony Dokoupil, a senior writer for NBC News and author of a critically acclaimed memoir about his pot-smuggling father, will discuss the emerging business of legal marijuana during an appearance at Miller Auditorum at 7 p.m. Oct. 16. It is free and open to the public.

The New York Times has called Dokoupil’s book, The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana (Doubleday, April 2014), “an exuberant memoir about the history of the American drug economy, the ambitions and failures of politicians and outlaws, fathers and sons. “ The Washington Post described it as “a meticulously researched history of America’s rocky relationship with marijuana” with “the kind of narrative that screams out to be adapted into a gritty, layered cable TV drama.”

Dokoupil will discuss the book and his recent work  for NBC News reporting on the entrepreneurs who are growing and distributing legal marijuana during his talk,  The New Pot Barons: They’re Young, Well Educated, Politically Savvy — and Trying to Get Rich Making Marijuana Legit.

A former senior writer for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, Dokoupil’s reporting crosses NBC platforms, including Dateline, the Today Show and Nightly News. He received his B.B.A. summa cum laude from George Washington University, where he graduated first in his class, and a masters degree in American Studies from Columbia University.

Dokoupil’s Eckerd presentation will take place less than three weeks before Florida voters consider amending the state Constitution to legalize medical marijuana and Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia voters consider broader marijuana legalization.

Dokoupil’s father smuggled marijuana for decades, spanning the Nixon and Reagan administrations. He “became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.,” according to NPR’s Fresh Air. For the book, Dokoupil “combed through court documents and newspaper files and interviewed Drug Enforcement Administration agents who investigated the case, as well as more than a dozen smugglers and dealers, including his own father,” according to NPR.