I’m Amanda Chicago Lewis. I report and write stories about cannabis, as it relates to policy, politics, science, economics, culture, race, public safety, and criminal justice.
I’ve written about the impossible dream of a marijuana breathalyzer, the $50,000 bongs that weed moguls use to launder money, and the ways that the conflicts between state and federal marijuana law have forced sick people back into the unregulated medical circumstances of the late 19th century, before the FDA, when it was entirely unclear what a jar of medicine might actually contain.
I want my work to help create a safe, fair, and legal cannabis industry. I’m particularly interested in public health, the influence of special interests, and the ways in which the documented racial disparities of drug law enforcement are being cemented into the details of legalization. I try to tell the stories of representative stakeholders in order to hold those in power accountable and better inform and educate citizens, legislators, and other journalists.
Since April 2017, I've been writing a column for Rolling Stone. Between January 2015 and October 2016, I was a national reporter at BuzzFeed News. I’ve also written for GQ, Vice, the LA Review of Books, The Awl, Pop-Up Magazine, and the LA Weekly. I’ve appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, KCRW's Good Food, NPR’s LatinoUSA, KCRW’s Which Way, L.A.?, NPR's 1A, WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show, Viceland’s Bong Appetit, and the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), among others. In 2017, I presented on a panel at the Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference and taught at Yale's THREAD workshop, a non-fiction storytelling program for adults.
This one time I was on TV in Japan. When they cut back to the studio, the news anchor said he thought I looked like Cher.