Whoa! Get off your high horse; I’m not trying to persuade you to light up a joint, put on a film, and groove. On the other hand, I wouldn’t try to dissuade you, either.
There are three documentaries on DVD with summer 2011 release dates: Hempsters Plant the Seed (June 28), High Times Presents Nico Escondido’s Grow Like a Pro (July 26), and A NORML Life: The American Marijuana Revolution (August 16). We haven’t seen a good film about pot since Reefer Madness, so it’s time to indulge (in marijuana-related films, not marijuana; although I am still going for daily glaucoma screenings…just in case).
Hempsters starts with Woody Harrelson’s challenge to Kentucky state law. He planted four feral hemp seeds (1996) and was subsequently arrested. Brought to trial and acquitted, Harrelson became a leading activist in the fight to legalize hemp. Also participating in Hempsters are Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ralph Nader, Julia “Butterfly” Hill, Donna Cockrel, the Kentucky Hemp Growers Co-op, Alex White Plume and the Lakota Indians, and Gatewood Galbraith, an independent who is currently running for Governor of Kentucky.
Hempsters is not about fighting for your right to party—it is about sustainability and “going green.” Director Michael Henning provides a mini-curriculum on the history of hemp in the United States; its prospective uses; health, legal, cultural, scientific, industrial, and ecological considerations. Viewers will discover that “any product that can be made from petroleum oils can also be produced by hemp,” and that “Hemp is a durable fiber that can be used for paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, and fuel."
Visitors to the High Times website are rewarded with everything they’ve always wanted to know about grass but didn’t know whom to ask. Where else can one purchase a pot leaf cookie cutter or “Veterans of the Marijuana War” membership kit? (Never mind; forget I asked.) It only makes sense that a video be produced for those interested in the agricultural side of the subject.
Designed for both the beginner and the advanced grower, High Times Presents Nico Escondido’s Grow Like a Pro features tips on “everything from indoor growing, to greenhouse techniques, to outdoor cultivation.” With two hours of “comprehensive cultivation coverage,” the documentary is a short course in marijuana propagation. In addition to the bonus material offered, this “unparalleled film contains never-before-seen footage of America’s top medical grow facilities.”
Arriving at retailers next week, A NORML Life: The American Marijuana Revolution is a chronicle of the “state of medical marijuana in America through interviews with patients, caregivers, activists and doctors.” NORML is the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and has advocated the decriminalization of cannabis for over forty years.
Featured in A NORML Life: The American Marijuana Revolution are interviews with NORML conference attendees, as well as participants in Seattle’s Hempfest 2010. Directed by Rod Pitman, who was also involved in Hempsters, A NORML Life: The American Marijuana Revolution reveals research and data about marijuana and its use. With an emphasis on medical and political (tax money) issues, it is an interesting look at an issue that affects millions.