Published on: 05/12/2022
Cannabis in the world of cinema: these are the five documentaries you can’t miss
If you’ve been scrolling through the list of films on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video for too long but can’t find anything that piques your curiosity, you’ve come to the right place.
This article has compiled a list of five excellent documentaries for all cannabis enthusiasts.
Enjoy reading (and watching)!
1. Weed the People
Released in 2018 and directed by Abby Epstein, Weed the People shows the struggles of families dealing with childhood cancer which, due to the US government’s war on cannabis, did not receive the treatment they needed.
The documentary follows these families and their suffering caused by the government’s prohibitionist stance towards scientific research on cannabinoids for cancer treatment.
Although medical marijuana is now legal in much of the United States, this documentary provides excellent material and valuable testimony to remember how many people struggled and fought before the law changed.
2. Rolling Papers
Released in 2015, Rolling Papers is set in one of the major epicentres of the current worldwide movement to change perceptions and consciousness regarding marijuana use.
It is the first film about legalising recreational marijuana in the US state of Colorado. It is a celebration of the potential for cannabis to become a national economy.
Directed by Mitch Dickman, Rolling Papers chronicles the Denver Post and its groundbreaking decision to create a cannabis news section under the leadership of Ricardo Baca. This documentary reveals how a shrinking journalistic, economic niche changed its fortunes and position thanks to the strength of the free marijuana movement.
It offers a wide-ranging look at the challenges and responsibilities journalism brings with it regarding the integrity of the cannabis topic, quality control and investigative efforts to ensure the enforcement of consumer rights. It also delves into the personal lives of journalists, reflecting on controversial issues such as parents’ educational approach to cannabis and the persistent preconceptions of drug war propaganda.
Our advice is to add it to your Netflix list because Rolling Papers is not to be missed, and not only by cannabis enthusiasts.
The documentary shows the countless opportunities for businesses, products and peripheral labour that the marijuana industry required in the post-war era.
3. Murder Mountain
Murder Mountain is where true crime and the dark side of cannabis culture meet.
About 60 per cent of American weed comes from Humboldt County in Northern California, where more people disappear than anywhere else in the state. “Have you seen me?” and “Missing” posters are put up all over the central city, Alderpoint, surrounded by dense forests and rocky peaks, an ideal place for disappearances.
The phenomenon is so widespread that the slope on which Alderpoint is located is called ‘Murder Mountain’, known primarily as a hub for seasonal marijuana workers.
In this six-episode series, filmmaker Joshua Zeman takes an in-depth look at how unstable the transient environment is for so-called ‘trimmigrants’, such as 29-year-old Garret Rodriguez, a surfer from San Diego who had travelled north to participate in the marijuana rush and earn money to build a shack on the beach in Mexico. In 2013, Rodriguez stopped returning calls from his father, who then reported his son missing.
However, as the sheriff’s department is overburdened with missing persons and murder cases, Rodriguez’s disappearance remains unsolved. The investigation is dropped because the police consider him a loser and a drug dealer.
One town resident summed up the local government’s opinion of marijuana growers: ‘Let them kill each other’.
Part murder mystery, part indictment of how American law enforcement has adapted (or not) to the legalisation of marijuana, Murder Mountain is worth the six hours of viewing.
4. The Union
Directed by Brett Harvey and released in 2007, it is perhaps the most informative cannabis documentary ever.
We follow screenwriter Adam Scorgie across Canada and find out exactly how the illegal cannabis market works. During The Union, all participants can voice their opinions, from producers, criminologists, doctors, politicians and economists to prominent figures in popular culture.
The film examines the issue of cannabis and says a lot about today’s society and its lack of freedom.
5. How Weed Won The West
Set in the Californian recession era, around 2009, How Weed Won The West details how the cannabis business thrived in a near-bankrupt state. At the time, the medical marijuana industry enjoyed the support of Californians and US President Barack Obama even then.
But this documentary shows that getting into this industry is challenging even with this support.
How Weed Won The West is unabashed: it shows the raids against medical marijuana dispensaries, which are terrorised even though they provide a medical service.
It also exposes the dark side of law enforcement and how the industry endures in a seemingly hopeless situation.
In this article, we have seen the five documentaries you should not miss if cannabis is a subject you are passionate about.
So, get your popcorn and a nice blanket ready: turn on the TV and enjoy a marijuana-themed evening.