Film Review: The Culture High
“The Culture High” is to legalized marijuana what “Endless Summer” is to surfing. It’s a classic film introduced during an important time in social and legal history.
From the makers of the critically acclaimed documentary “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High,” the documentary highlights the opportunity, through collective action and social change, to shift the tides of America’s War on Drugs. The film presents a discourse from doctors and teachers from Harvard University who are true medial experts; legal representatives and police veterans from America’s inner cities; business leaders and journalists and families for whom medical marijuana has been a savior.
The wit and candor of comedian Joe Rogan’s narrative appears throughout the movie. At nearly two hours, it’s hard to not see how legalized cannabis in America is social change for the better after listening to America’s political leaders talk about the war on crime and business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson share his views.
One of the most interesting aspects of “The Culture High” is where the filmmakers point out that marijuana, like other behavior such as drinking alcohol, sex or gambling, can be an issue if abused. This point of the film reminds the audience how easy it’s become for our society to point the blame on others for abuse – rather than taking personal responsibility.
When notorious drug smuggler Howard Marks tells his story about bringing hashish into America stashed inside the musical equipment of unknowing rock bands such as Pink Floyd and Genesis, he talks about all of the gangsters from the Mafia to the IRA that he had to deal with. That conversation, however, pales in comparison to that of the film’s discussion of the War on Drugs with Mexico. The documentary proposes that the only real way to fight the war is to take away the drug cartels and their “ammunition” – the sale and transportation of marijuana to America. Legalizing cannabis cuts the drug cartels off at their knees.
“The Culture High” proves that the tipping point for cannabis legalization is here today and will pull the underpinnings of the War on Drugs. The documentary explores political influence and lobbying in government as well as the power of money and influence in society. “The Culture High” isn’t a typical pot movie, but rather a clear look at how out of balance our society has been and how it can be rebalanced.
The film concludes with an empowering message that America’s states are defying the federal government and federal laws in doing what the people truly desire. As CNN’s medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta points out – there has been misleading element to American news concerning marijuana and he apologizes for being a part of that problem. The film ends with a view that marijuana use will be legalized, taxed, etc. and as rapper Snoop echoes Sir Branson, he points out “the world is already moving.”
Originally published in issue 12 of Cannabis Now Magazine.