The book is divided into three chapters:
Chapter 1: Reefer Madness, Schlosser argues, based on usage, historical context, and consequences, for the decriminalization of marijuana.
Chapter 2: In the Strawberry Fields, he explores the exploitation of illegal immigrants as cheap labor, arguing that there should be better living arrangements and humane treatment of the illegal immigrants America is exploiting in the fields of California.
Chapter 3: An Empire of the Obscene details the history of pornography in American culture, starting with the eventual business magnate Reuben Sturman. Schlosser closes by arguing that such a widespread black market can only undermine the law and is indicative of the discrepancy between accepted mainstream American culture and its true nature.