“Kid Cannabis” is the dramatized story of young rival Idaho drug smuggling kingpins Brendan Butler and Nate Norman. Butler is the adopted son of a wealthy Coeur D’Alene, Idaho family who has been smuggling drugs into the small resort town just south of British Columbia for years. Norman is the poor, chubby pizza-delivery guy who has a passion for good marijuana.
Norman engineers a plan, enlisting the help of his childhood friends, to smuggle premium Canadian marijuana over the border to Coeur D’Alene. He becomes so successful he effectively knocks out his competition, Brendan Butler, who is so enraged he hires a hit man to kill Norman.
While “Kid Cannabis” takes a look at the real dangers caused by marijuana prohibition, namely the illegal drug trade, its main failing is in the over glorification of the criminal element of the black market.
Norman is good person at heart. He doesn’t just get into smuggling because he loves good weed, he also loves his young mother, who waits tables to support him and his little brother. He has morals, but even he falls off the rails, diving deep into cocaine addiction and the “kill or get killed mentality.”
While “Kid Cannabis” is entertaining and clearly written by someone who knows the world of marijuana cultivation well, its biggest failing is in the romantic way in which the seedy underbelly of the crime world is portrayed.
The final scene shows the crew of young, white, 20-somethings partying with half-naked girls on the lake, their short jail sentences sprawl across the screen to the tune of Public Enemy’s “Fuck tha Police,” the anthem that epitomized the racially-charged riots in South Central Los Angeles after the Rodney King beating. The song choice seems almost mocking in context.
One thing is clear, however, neither of these kingpins would have become what they were had not prohibition laws fueled their desire to meet local demand. Whether the use is medical or recreational, “Kid Cannabis” is a cautionary tale on why marijuana should be legal and off the black market.
Originally published in issue 11 of Cannabis Now Magazine.