Thursday, September 03, 2009

"The Union": Canadian indie film makes libertarian case for decriminalizing pot


There have been several indie films about the evils of our drug laws, but a Canadian film, directed and written by Brett Harvey, co-created by Adam Scorgie, called “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High" (2007) (link), available from Netflix, makes an even more interesting argument. That is, in Canada (here, around Vancouver), the police don’t care very much what people do, allowing rallies where people smoke marijuana in the open, yet they’ll take serious an extradition order from the United States for Internet activity carried out completely within Canada.

The film describes how the “business” works, the with landowner protected (what he doesn’t know doesn’t hurt him), but with other carriers plainly in the position as “fall guys” as the stuff crosses the border.

The film covers the usual political arguments pretty well: politicians cannot afford to challenge the drug laws, and nobody with a public career will speak out against them. Well, don’t “blame Canada”. The “organic chemistry class” arguments are interesting, too: a drug that can be prescribed legally is an allotropic form of cannabis that does not grow naturally and is marginally less psychoactive.

The film talks about hemp, which apparently cannot be grown legally in the US, as a product that is green-friendly and could help us deal with global warming.

Maybe upper middle class stuffiness about lawn management is warranted: you never know if some wild weeds growing in your yard or garden are illegal until the choppers show up.
 Update:  must confess that in Sept. 2013. I viewed it again, as Netflxi doesn't keep track of films you forget to rate.  I note that Jesse Ventura appears.    I also note the "Grow Ops" in Vancouver neightborhoods, and the resistance of neighborhood wattchhes.  A Canadian, named Emory, gets extradited and prosecuted in the US for selling drugs over the Internet;  another American is prosecuted simply because is name is connected indirectly to US drugs. American presidents (especially the first Bush, and Reagan) are shown as especially intransigent on the topic.  Remember Nancy Reagan's "Just say no!"  In 1973, New York State passed a particularly stiff drug law.

Sanjay Gupta has a riveting report on how he changed his own mind about marijuana on CNN, review on TV blog, Aug. 11, 2013.

The plant below is "only" wild grape.  But illegal plants probably grow in people's yards all the time!


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