Ron Mann also made Comic Book Confidential, which is one of my favorite documentaries, as well as movies about Big Daddy Roth, Robert Altman, free jazz, the twist and Margaret Atwood. Joined by writer Solomon Vesta and narrator Woody Harrelson — no stranger to the kind bud and who did this movie for free — Grass takes a decade by decade approach to the history of US federal policies and social attitudes toward marijuana.
In the two decades since this film, eighteen states, Washington, D.C. and Guam are all legal United States places to recreationally get baked. and thirteen states have decriminalized marijuana. Yet how much money and how many lives were ruined by the “War On Drugs,” which really got started when Harry Anslinger started the idea that sativa and marijuana would make you insane. That war continued through Richard Nixon creating the DEA, to Nancy Reagan urging us to just say no and Bill Clinton increasing spending to arrest drug dealers and users.
In 2015, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the war, estimated that the America spends $51 billion each year on anti-drug endeavors and in the fifty years of the War On Drugs spent $1 trillion dollars.
This is something that has been known since 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report that said, “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.”
Mann so urgently believed in the message of this movie — which uses archive footage and clips from movies like Reefer Madness — that he released for free.