I grew up in the 80s and 90s when there were not many serious cannabis films out there. Obviously, Cheech and Chong films had been around for a while, and I remember my dad showing me a few films that focused on the life of a cannabis grower. The 90s had some great cannabis comedies but was much shorter on thought-provoking cannabis films.
Virtually none of the films I saw back then took a serious look at the harms of cannabis prohibition, which is not exactly shocking considering it was the Just Say No and D.A.R.E. eras. Fortunately, there has been a recent surge of cannabis films that highlight the harms of cannabis prohibition.
A new film is coming out on April 20th that is going to be unlike any other cannabis film that has ever been released. I honestly think that it is going to be the greatest cannabis film ever created because it is from a viewpoint and perspective that has never been properly captured before.
The film is ‘Grass is Greener‘ and it’s debuting on 4/20 on Netflix. It’s directed by legendary hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy (one of my all-time personal heroes) and looks at cannabis prohibition’s harmful impact on Communities of Color.
Cannabis prohibition began in the 1930s and was largely the birth of institutional racism in America, with its architect Harry Anslinger often targeting African-American jazz musicians for arrest and prosecution.
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” Anslinger was quoted as saying. “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
The cannabis plant and several genres of music have a very long history. Musicians have created many songs about the cannabis plant over the decades and that has undoubtedly influenced popular culture.
The first time I learned about the cannabis plant was via a Tone-Loc album, and the first time I consumed cannabis was after listening to Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic.’ I know that I am not alone and that countless people out there have similar stories.
I also know that I am not alone in that the same music that opened my eyes about cannabis also opened my eyes to America’s broken criminal justice system and the need for social justice activism. It’s all intertwined and has been since the start of cannabis prohibition.
You cannot properly tell the story of cannabis prohibition without talking about its relationship with musicians of color, both the good and the bad, and there’s no one better suited to tell that story than Fab 5 Freddy. I am absolutely jacked for this film’s release.
‘Grass is Greener’ will go in-depth on the growing racial disparity in the cannabis industry. It’s a damn shame to see the same communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition being disproportionately locked out of the cannabis industry.
This film will no doubt give a huge boost to social equity efforts in the cannabis industry and will bring much-needed attention to the biggest issue facing the cannabis industry today in my opinion.
Featured interviews from ‘Grass is Greener’ include Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Sen Dog, DMC, Doug E. Fresh, Chuck D, Damian Marley, Killer Mike and more. You can find out more over at Netflix.