Not many people know that National Canadian Film Day happens on April 19th each year, and in honor of the day (and being the Eve of 420) I thought it would be appropriate to give a shout out to the Canadian classic film, Grass.
Grass is a documentary released in 1999. It's directed by Ron Mann and narrated by cannabis enthusiast Woody Harrelson. The film guides viewers through the political landscape of cannabis prohibition from the 1920's through to the 1990's. It uses archived clips from old news media, and catalogs some of the craziest propaganda used to persuade public opinion, eventually leading cannabis to criminalization in the United States and all over the world.
Watching the propaganda, by today's standards, makes it hard to believe that anyone would buy into it, but I guess that's why they say hind sight is always 20/20.
The film as a whole, is well written, perfectly clipped together and presents itself like a picture book. You can easily watch it high or sober and if you're a nostalgia junkie like me, you'll appreciate the montages of different festivals and iconic figures placed throughout.
What I really liked about Grass was that although the film speaks to the politicalization of cannabis, it doesn't directly point to any political party. In fact, the way it's laid out showcases that no matter where people have stood politically their message about cannabis always goes back to fear mongering and criminalization.
Acapulco Gold by Johnny Chronic
I can't say that I like the way the film abruptly ends. It may however, only seem that way because we all know the continued story. And even though I appreciated the advocacy approach contrasting with the government agenda, the film fails to answer the questions as to why? Why did they work so hard at demonizing cannabis? Why didn't they do proper research? Why did they lie to the public and why did they spend billions of dollars in tax payer money to control it? Could the cotton or tobacco industries have anything to do with it? We'll save that for another blog...
Over all, I would give this film 7.5 puffs out of 10. But don't take my word for it. You can watch it yourself on Apple TV for $1.99.