Over the weekend, Pennsylvania became the 24th state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana. For your April 20th, here are eight reads on cannabis, from one writer’s journey into America’s first legal pot festival in Colorado to a profile on a scientist researching safe pesticide use in Washington State.

“More Reefer Madness.” (Eric Schlosser, The Atlantic, April 1997)

“More Americans are in prison today for marijuana offenses than at any other time in our history.” In 1997, Schlosser examined the case to decriminalize marijuana. (Dive deeper in his award-winning two-part series from 1994: “Reefer Madness” and “Marijuana and the Law.”)

“The Scientist Pot Farmer.” (Brooke Borel, Undark Magazine, April 2016)

In Washington State, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, scientist Alan Schreiber has studied pesticides for 18 years. Working to further agricultural research, Schreiber focuses on safe pesticide use in cannabis production and provides safety workshops for pot farmers.

“The Medicinal Marijuana Mess.” (John Hudak, Brookings, March 2016)

“Patrick and Beth didn’t want to get their daughter high; they wanted to get her well.” Hudak tells the stories of those affected by the medicinal marijuana policies in the U.S., from a rabbi and medical dispensary owner in Washington D.C. to a teenager with a rare form of epilepsy who moves to Colorado and finds relief from THCA oil.

“Inside America’s First Ever Legal Marijuana Festival.” (Sanjiv Bhattacharya, Esquire, August 2014)

“And on Easter Sunday, 20 April, we’re going to gather in the Civic Center Park for the first legal 420 smoke out. The revolution starts here. Yes we cannabis.” Bhattacharya flies to Denver to tour the Mile High City with My 420 Tours and to partake in Colorado’s two-day Cannabis Cup, the first ever legal pot festival.

“The Doobie Underground.” (Sarah Souli, Roads & Kingdoms, January 2015)

In 2013, Italy legalized cannabis for medical purposes. At Roads & Kingdoms, Sarah Souli writes about underground cannabis social clubs that dispense medicinal marijuana in the country.

“Women in Weed: How Legal Marijuana Could Be the First Billion-Dollar Industry Not Dominated By Men.” (Gogo Lidz, Newsweek, August 2015)

From female cannabis doctors to entrepreneurs to investors, women are moving into the weed business in the U.S., shifting it from a male-dominated industry.

“How a Chemist Unwittingly Helped Spawn the Synthetic Drug Epidemic.” (Terrence McCoy, The Washington Post, August 2015)

Clemson University chemist John W. Huffman unintentionally helped spawn Washington D.C.’s synthetic drug epidemic. He was the first person to synthesize many of the cannabinoids used in synthetic cannabis.

“Buzzkill.” (Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, November 2013)

Patrick Radden Keefe visits Washington State to explore what it really takes to create a legal marijuana economy.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.