Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER (Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation), which ran a successful 2005 campaign to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in Denver, has long been the merry prankster of Colorado weed activists -- a prankster who knows how to have serious impact. When photos surfaced of Governor Bill Ritter's son hitting the booze at a governor's mansion party, Tvert and his posse threw a media-grabbing kegger on the mansion lawn to prove the point that the encouragement of alcohol but not pot was a total party foul. He was also responsible for arguably the most successful billboard that never actually existed: In 2005, as part of the Denver pot legalization campaign, SAFER proposed a billboard celebrating Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, who'd been suspended for marijuana use. The billboard attracted national attention -- even though Tvert never actually put it up.
Now Tvert, with the help of two other pot activists, has distilled his central argument into book form -- Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? -- and, true to style, he's found a way to upend the publishing industry. Yesterday, Marijuana is Safer hit number 14 on Amazon's bestselling book list, beating out heavyweights like Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers and the newest installment of the Twilight saga -- even though Tvert's straight-to-paperback tome won't actually be released until September 15.
The secret to Tvert's success was a little something he cooked up called "The Great Marijuana Book Bomb of 2009," in which as many people as possible flooded Amazon.com with orders for the book to boost it up the charts. It's just another token Tvert move to attract attention to his cause -- though he would have preferred the event be on 4/20 instead of 8/20.
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The book's official launch transpires this Sunday at a blow-out at 8 Rivers Café, 1550 Blake Street, from 2 to 5 p.m. Tvert will also be reading from the book at Tattered Cover downtown, 1628 16th Street, at 7:30 p.m. on August 31, and at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street, at 7:30 p.m. on September 1. If you go, be warned: With Tvert in full effect, things are bound to get interesting.