Even the wonkiest of drug policy reformers can't spend all their time reading policy proposals, research results, and desert-dry academic treatises, but Reefer Movie Madness is much more than a mere guilty pleasure. A follow-up to the pair's well-done, comprehensive compendium of all things cannabinical, Pot Culture, Reefer Movie Madness profiles more than 700 films that are about marijuana, feature marijuana in key scenes, feature other drugs, or just plain a gas to watch stoned. But in the late 1930s, as Harry Anslinger crusaded against the demon weed, so did Hollywood. While marijuana and other drug use was portrayed intermittently, and occasionally, even with some sympathy for drug users, it wasn't until the cultural revolution of the 1960s, bringing us classic stoner films like Wild in the Streets (1968) and Easy Rider (1969), that pot-smoking began to be widely portrayed as anything but deviant.
By now, stoner movies and depictions of pot-smoking are everywhere, most notably, but not only, in the stoner comedy genre. Reefer Movie Madness is a bookshelf must for pot movie fans, whether they be culture mavens or fully-baked couch potatoes. But beyond that, Reefer Movie Madness is a valuable and important contribution to charting and understanding the pop cultural role of marijuana in the past few decades. What is arguably the most influential and respected newspaper in the United States is ready to free the weed. They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. The films are ranked via a five-star rating system, and the authors demonstrate exquisite taste and filmic knowledge in their rankings (meaning that their tastes agreed with mine).


Films like Half-Baked, How High, Friday, and Strange Wilderness are now being produced by mainstream production companies, and the Judd Apatow franchise alone has been responsible for numerous box office hit stoner flicks, including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the underrated Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, and Pineapple Express. Even for veteran stoner film watchers, it contains some delicious movies you've never seen before and helps you remember long-forgotten gems. It doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. Focusing mainly on marijuana and cocaine, the film is also a cautionary tale about the failed War on Drugs prohibition schemes and drug addiction. While such films helped shape American attitudes at the time, and for decades to come, they are now the stuff of nonstop laugh fests. This year's Get Him to Greek, featuring the inimitable and charismatic Russell Brand and Apatow regular Jonah Hill, was released too late for inclusion, but will certainly make the next edition. It has already vastly increased the length of my Netflix queue, and once you pick it up, the same thing is going to happen to you. Advocates believe that countries should take the UNGASS as an opportunity to pursue a range of reforms to global drug policy, including revising provisions of the UN Drug Conventions that threaten to stand in the way of reform. Some of my colleagues also figure in the movie, including Neill Franklin, Eric Sterling and Howard Wooldridge, among others.It is opening in select theaters in some cities (see the web site for info), and is available through iTunes and OnDemand.
Showcasing various levels from Getting started, pawn, corner hustler, private retailer, domestic distributor, international smuggler, and kingpin, all the way up to Drug Lord.


It was also not the kind of day that thousands attending including many who traveled from afar had planned either. Many other countries have decriminalized possession of certain drugs or have implemented harm reduction measures like syringe exchange programs. The story had the top spot on Google News for a time last night, and continues to hold front page placement as I write this.
That's an unfortunate accomplishment, particularly after the grim and violent week we just lived through. Meanwhile, the US is undergoing important shifts in its own domestic policy, with the Obama administration wisely accommodating states that are legalizing and regulating cannabis. The only criticism of the idea of the rally was from a Colorado anti-marijuana group, appearing well toward the end of the article. Most of it was sympathetic reporting about the victims, about organizers cooperating with police, police looking for information on the suspects, who the musical acts were, how police even before Amendment 64 passed had focused on crowd safety rather than marijuana enforcement during Denver's 420 events. But I lean toward the former, and there's some comfort from seeing marijuana reformers and public safety personnel so clearly on the same side.



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