The origins of the moral myths of marijuana and its recent shift to the mainstream mindset is the topic of “The Legend of 420,” one of the newest and best documentaries about cannabis and its culture.
The film, directed by Peter Spirer, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his documentary short “Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann,” ponders what comes with the perception change with segments from known names such as comedian Tommy Chong and musicians Melissa Etheridge, Jason Mraz and Henry Rollins.
In one of the opening scenes of the movie, news clips of numerous presidential candidates — as well as a couple of past and present Commanders in Chief — speak clearly about the futility of the war on drugs in North America. It comes off especially poignant as several advocates explain later that while the population favors legalization by a large majority, only 5 percent of the Senate backs legalization.
The movie stresses many known and little known facts regarding pot and clearly outlines California’s Prop 64, which passed in 2016 and allows for recreational marijuana use for people 21 and older. That passage of the film highlights the after effects of regulation, such as taxation, and eliminating a black market for a substance that is already widely used. The thrust is that legalization solves many of the traditional societal concerns, regardless of individuals’ moral issues with mind-altering substances.
Interviews with the left-brained guests in the movie such as lawyers, doctors, patients and growers all tout the physical and economic benefits of weed. Interviews with the right-brained folks such as artists, musicians and community let you know ganja does for the soul.
“The Legend of 420” alternates scenes stating cannabis facts and info, both medical and legal, with scenes featuring stand-up comedy acts at a place called “The Comedy Joint” making light of our skewed perception of cannabis use in society. Just when things are getting heavy, the comic relief comes in and brings it back like any good stoner movie with a heart should.
The movie is optimistic in tone and stresses the unlocked potential we will soon be a part of that is already taking place. It demystifies the myths of “The Legends of 420” and acknowledges the transformation of the culture. It doesn’t just preach to the choir, it lets the choir spread the gospel.
“The Legend of 420” is available for viewing now on video on demand and iTunes.
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