An Evening with Ryan Grim

Friday, September 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Bookplate on Cross Street.

On a cold wet November Saturday, before the 2012 Presidential Election, Ryan Grim spoke to a large audience crowded into the vestry at Emmanuel Church in Chestertown.

He was one of several speakers at the 4th Annual Chestertown Book Festival. The topic of the talk was his book, This is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America, published by Wiley in September 2010.

He began his lecture by reading from his book:

One day in the fall of 2001, I realized that I hadn't seen any LSD in an awfully long time. I was living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland at the time, where the drug had been a fixture of my social scene since the early-nineties. Most of my peers had continued dosing through college or whatever they chose to do instead. Even some watermen and farmers I knew had tripped on occasion.

The scheduled length of his talk was 30 minutes, and having saved room for Q&A, it was clear that even 30 minutes of Q&A wasn’t going to be enough time for the enthusiastic crowd. Question after question was asked on this topic of drugs in America, a topic that has not gone away in the 2 years since. Instead, the conversation has escalated with the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado, and the decriminalization in Maryland, which joined other states like Alaska, California, Massachusetts and Vermont to become the 17th state to do so, making it accessible for medical use.

The lecture ran late, and with still more questions wanting to be asked, we had to apologize to those unasked questions and prepare for the next event. Afterwards, the Chestertown Book Festival Committee agreed, we must bring Ryan Grim back, and this year he returns as the main speaker of the 2014 Festival, set to take place on Friday, September 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Bookplate in Chestertown.

Grim is the Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post. He is a former staff reporter with and Washington City Paper. He won the 2007 Alt-Weekly Award for best long-form news-story for "The Painmaker," a December 2010 Sidney Hillman Award for "The Poorhouse" and a 2011 Maggie Award for Behind The Assault On Planned Parenthood. His article on lobbying over swipe fees will be included in the 2012 Columbia Journalism Review's Best Business Writing anthology.