In a series investigating the history of drug use, we begin our trip tracing the rise of marijuana. Marijuana, from the Indian hemp plant, has been used worldwide as a source of rope, cloth, and paper; its medicinal qualities were first documented 4,000 years ago in China. But it’s best known as the drug of choice of the 1960s.
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Beyond the hysteria of Reefer Madness and past the deceptive lessons of "Just Say No", HIGH exposes the true story of America's war on drugs. Using government statistics, expert interviews and a large dose of humor, HIGH takes a fresh look at this hot button issue and asks just how much this "war" costs Americans in money, stress, and even lives. There's a violent drug treatment program that tortured children; an overbearing drug czar that doesn't care for the people he hurts in his quest; patients who are being denied the medications they need; doctors being prosecuted for trying to help them; and a substance that we all know of, but nobody wants to talk about.
In the follow-up to his ground-breaking documentary 'American Drug War,' filmmaker Kevin Booth traces the fight against Federal drug regulation in the State of California. A public majority has spoken and said yes to states rights, allowing for the use of medicinal marijuana and opening up a new front in controversial medicinal 'dispensaries.'
While users herald the freedom of legally-licensed "weed," powerful forces at the DEA and law enforcement haven't given up their federal enforcement power yet. Many dispensaries have been raided, targeting their distribution of marijuana and challenging their authority to rise into legitimate business.
In the backdrop of this public dispute is the Dark Alliance-- where governments handle the volume of drug trafficking and work with cartels and drug dealers to manage the drug flow. Just like the prohibition of alcohol, drugs have thrived on their illicit appeal, and doomed millions of non-violent offenders to incarceration and prosecution. Now, those swearing by the healing power of medicinal marijuana as well as those who simply refuse to be outlawed by a hypocritical rogue government are daring to stand up and declare that the violence, corruption and uncontrolled flow of drugs is due to the prohibition of the substance, not the substance itself.
Big Pharma has put millions of non-"drug" users on hallucinogenic prescription drugs and instituted new forms of addiction and dependency, challenging our outdated notions that is only "illegal" drugs doing harm to our people.
The State of California, in a key position to assert its 10th Amendment rights under the Constitution, has pushed the issue to a tipping point. The bankrupt government hopes to capitalize on taxation of a legal and prosperous marijuana trade that could, ironically, fight off big government and offer free humanity new hope. Whether or not you love or loathe marijuana or the drug culture, everyone needs to fight for a more peaceful solution to the drug dilemma. How can we best manage the reality of drug use and minimize the harm to individuals and society at large? Clearly seventy years plus has proven that the drug war has the wrong approach.
In How Weed Won the West, filmmaker Kevin Booth dares to tackle these difficult questions. He infiltrates psuedo-legal California growers, investigates DEA raids on licensed dispensaries and even undertakes to sample the disputed 'medicine' for himself. He interviews radio host Alex Jones, former drug dealers, real-life gang members, legal-weed pitch men, activists and advocates to find the truth.