The Culture High
The Culture High, a movie centralized on the arguments surrounding the topic of legalizing marijuana. The film highlights the misconceptions about marijuana itself and the altering effects of the media, society, and government as a whole. It does not take a side of whether or not marijuana should be legalized but instead, shows facts and research throughout the years giving us a more clear view of the problems the United States faces to this day.
Filmmaker, Brett Harvey, is an award-winning director whose main objective is to inform his audience about the misconceptions of marijuana and the role society has on it. Harvey has stated in various interviews that using marijuana is a human right unless it hurts someone else in the process (Interview with Onya Ganja). He believes that this specific film was meant to outline the deeper problems in the United States, within the actual system. It would also be seen as more appealing to a broader audience compared to his other documentary (The Union) since they had various well-known government officials, comedians, university professors, and artists like Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg. Harvey finds the topic of marijuana important to discuss and underlines the importance of being well informed since times are changing in the United States. His goal is to reach the minds of the audience and make them realize that prohibitions develop the enormous amount of problems the country faces today.
The target audience for this particular film would have to be people who have used marijuana throughout their lives or people who find an interest on the topic of marijuana. The title for the movie, The Culture High, already gives an exact hint on what this two-hour documentary will be based on, giving it a disadvantage from the beginning since there is still a strong hatred towards the thought of legalizing marijuana. However, there are also people (like me) who feel the need to explore their horizons and watch it to be well informed on the topic of marijuana itself. Since times are changing, the need to stay educated on the topic is essential for the future generations due to the fact that this can affect us in the next couple of years. This documentary is backed up by research, historical content, and philosophical ideas which can also bring certain attention for an audience looking for a non-bias marijuana documentary. If you are that type of person, watch a 5-minute kickstart of the documentary!
The documentary shows various problems when it comes to the representation of marijuana in the media as it talks about the many misconceptions of the drug itself. Marijuana, blamed for causing cancer, schizophrenia, breast development, addiction, and usage of harder drugs, is actually not as bad at it is presented to be. Comedian Joe Rogan said in the documentary, “the only way marijuana can kill you is if you take 25lbs of it and you throw it out of a CIA plane and it hits you in the head”. Marijuana does not cause any of those accusations set forth by the media, and as a matter of fact has caused 0 deaths. Alcohol, as a matter of fact, causes 50,000 deaths while cigarettes have caused 5.5 million deaths. That raises the question of why marijuana is illegal if it causes no life threats in comparison to alcohol and cigarettes. It is also important to state that this problem does not only affect the United States but Mexico as it has caused around 70,000 deaths consisting of parents, children, and families. Mexico’s government has also been blamed for not stopping the cartels from exporting drugs (60% marijuana) to the United States but does not take into consideration the statistical standpoint of the problem. The United States makes up 5% of the world's population and consumes 50% of the world's drugs. It is then safe to say when President Nixon proclaimed a “war on drugs”, he meant a war against the United States itself. This also brings up the topic of political benefits, meaning that a politician's main objective is to get as many supporters as possible, even if what has been said is untrue. The “war on drugs” would then cause the massive criminalization of marijuana users around the United States. Cenk Uygur, the host of the Young Turks, highlights the problem of discrimination in the criminal system as he states “even though blacks and whites consume the same amount of drugs, blacks are 4x more likely to be arrested than whites”.
At the end of the documentary, it talks about the benefits the use of marijuana has on cancer patients and people who suffer from recurring seizures. This brings a sense of empathy for the people who truly need marijuana for medical reasons and reassures me that those should be the ones allowed to use it. Harvey’s presentation and argument of the topic of marijuana show a different side I have personally never seen before. The usage of professors (from Harvard, Yale, and UCLA), artists, comedians, and government officials, shows a great amount of credibility and reassurance that all that has been stated, is based on pure research and facts. This is actually the best documentary I have seen so far as it incorporates various viewpoints and at the end, lets the viewer have its own opinion of whether or not marijuana should be legalized.