Down in Smoke: through comics, Susie Cagle chronicles the DEA raids on medical marijuana facilities in California

At Cartoon Movement, "graphic journalist" Susie Cagle (Twitter) surveys the impact of recent DEA raids of medical marijuana centers, and legal attacks against Harborside and the like, in 'Down In Smoke'. The work includes sound clips, which is brilliant.

Oakland, California. Ground zero for a medical marijuana fight between states and the federal government that has only been heating up. Incorporating real audio from activists, Cagle portrays what "feels like class war" as local growers, patients and city officials fight against losing their jobs, medicine, and tax revenue.

The whole thing is here, and it's fantastic. Susie has done some of the best reporting I've seen of the Occupy movement and related protests in America—she's been jailed and injured for it. The fact that her reporting is focused through the medium of comics is just so innovative and cool. She takes true risks for her reporting, and what comes out of it is insightful, informative, and funny. I just love her work.


  1. Awesome, I must have missed this when it went up a few days ago. Glad it didn’t slip through the cracks. One note though, I don’t think the quotation marks around “Comics Journalist” are necessary. 

        1. yeah I didn’t use the phrase “comics journalist” or “comics journalism.” But I will now!

          Also I wonder if my use of quotes there was incorrect. I’ll ask my mom, who is a copy editor.

  2. Sigh, maybe one day Chicago will have these problems.  Oh wait, I’m pretty sure that won’t happen :(

  3. It’s sad, but this is essentially where Obama lost my vote.  It’s not that I want a Republican in office, it’s that I have no use for a false liberal. He’s not part of the solution, therefore he’s become a part of the problem.  

    Furthermore, the intent of this attack on Ed Lee was meant to send a message to all who would work to end Marijuana prohibition through democratic means.  The reason they made an example of Lee was because the legalization of Marijuana constitutes a threat to the prison industrial complex.  By supporting these measures Obama has indicated that he wants more Americans to live inside prisons.  He wants to give cops more reasons to seize property without a trial.  People need to understand that this isn’t just about Marijuana, it’s about exerting control over the populace.  I hope non-users can recognize this.

    1. It’s not that I want a Republican in office, it’s that I have no use for a false liberal.

      Voting for the greater evil because you feel betrayed won’t decriminalize marijuana, but it might get you a much longer sentence with fewer rights in a much nastier prison run by a private corporation owned by the cronies of the person for whom you voted.

      1. Yeah, it’s a shitty choice, but it seems plain that someone who’s at least capable of making the right noises is infinitely preferable to outright malevolence…

    2. I’m a third-party voter, and California’s solidly Democrat, so I didn’t have to vote for Obama as a way to vote against the Republicans (unlike 1984, when I lived in New Jersey and had to vote for Walter Mondale to try to stop Reagan/Bush, which was such a smashing success…) 

      So Obama didn’t lose my vote when he chickened out on his promises to fix the unConstitutional UnAmerican atrocity of Gitmo, but he certainly lost my support.  I was disappointed by his about-face on his promises about medical marijuana, especially because he’s used it himself, but I can’t say I was surprised.  And I wasn’t expecting a Keynesian to be able to fix Bush’s economic damage (and I wasn’t expecting Obama to be either as good or as lucky as Bill Clinton), but the Republicans have abandoned all pretense of fiscal responsibility years ago so it’s not like that was a downside.

  4. I’ve started reading David Nutt’s excellent book “Drugs without the Hot Air” (formerly a member of the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) and the disconnect between public policy and public health problems is huge and problematic. 

    1. I refer you to the government/corporate-revolving-door-fuelled disconnect between incontrovertible evidence and policy.

      Also see the talkback radio/ignorant old fart demographic-fuelled disconnect between incontrovertible evidence and policy.

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