The Legalization of Marijuana for medical purposes and now for recreational purposes has become one of the most divisive issues in America. At the same time, it’s the most misunderstood. People state that they are Pro-Marijuana or Anti-Marijuana like it sums up an intelligent and rational position. Saying you’re Pro-Marijuana is like saying you’re Pro-Food. It makes no sense. There are types of food that people dislike and there are even aspects of the manufacturing of food that people dislike. It’s not a black and white argument. Marijuana has not only morphed into a different kind of drug, it resembles very little of what was once known as weed. To say you are Pro-Marijuana says very little about what you’re actually for.
According to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center, most American adults favor marijuana legalization. Roughly 56% think it should be legal, while only 44% believe it should be illegal. The pro-pot sentiment is even higher for those under 35 years of age – 68%. But, what is marijuana? Why isn’t anyone asking that question? Why isn’t anyone asking why we’re still calling it Marijuana? It’s not Marijuana anymore, but when surveys refer to it, when people ask about it, when reporters and marketers cover it, they still refer to it as if it was the same thing it was in 70’s.
Would we survey people’s opinion about crack and call it cocaine? Would we survey people’s opinions about fentanyl and simply call it opioids? Why are we asking people about their opinions of legalization when the product bears absolutely no resemblance to what it’s been since the beginning of time. Why does it matter how many people are in favor of it, when “IT” is not even “IT” anymore! Botanists grew marijuana; now industrial scientists grow it. The 2% to 5% ower that got you high 40 years ago is now a wax or an oil that can be 97% pure THC. Flower marijuana has been genetically modified in labs and is selling as high as 42%. The collective knowledge of man has no idea what the effects are on the human body and brain. This is not only a social experiment gone bad, it is a modern day bait-and-switch with the American public. The same playbook used by the tobacco industry years ago is being used by an industry hell bent on profits from addiction – especially the addiction of youth.
In late 2014, while I was finishing filming the documentary, “An American Epidemic,” I was in Boulder, Colorado meeting with a man who had lost his daughter to an opioid overdose. While I was walking down beautiful Main Street in downtown Boulder for some B-Roll, I came upon an oversized, gaudy green cross that looked not only out of place on this beautiful strip, but intrigued me to investigate what I had heard so much about. I walked into to a head shop on steroids. What I witnessed in that dispensary struck such fear in my heart, that I set out almost immediately to begin to document what was really happening. I saw an industry in the making – a huge, commercialized, industrialized mega-operation that was going to be dependent on addiction.
If people would really get informed and avoid getting their information from biased media, this issue could be looked at objectively. There are over 400 molecules within marijuana and unfortunately not a lot is known about most of them. Most people are for the research and design of true medical marijuana. We know that CBD which is Cannabidiol is the accepted part of marijuana which has shown significant medical benefits. This is where our focus should be and it’s not. In fact, CBD and “medical marijuana” is being used as a ruse by the industry to convince Americans that legalization is all about helping people. It’s not what is happening in the states that have legalized commercial, retail marijuana. We are sliding down the most slippery slope in American history and we are completely forgetting the lessons we learned with Big Tobacco. We are forgetting what a for-profit industry did to this country. Cigarette-related illnesses kill more Americans than any other drugs combined. We don’t need to make the same mistake again.
Until we put our emotions in check and accept that our preconceived ideas about what marijuana once was might not be applicable today, and understand what is actually happening with this product, we will never come together to understand what is really going on. For our children’s sake and the sake of our country, we must become informed. My newest documentary, MarijuanaX is my attempt to do just that – inform. It was more than a year in the making and I hope and trust that it will open some eyes.