Madison Filmmaker Debuts Documentary Comparing CO/SD Approaches to Marijuana

Holy cow! My friend and fellow Madison native Michael Hope made a movie… about pot!

Pot-the-movie

Following Colorado’s legalization of marijuana in January 2014, Hope spent the year “traveling the 10-hour and 50-year policy cavern between legalization in Colorado and the strict prosecution in his home state of South Dakota.”

Pot (the movie) premiered last weekend at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. You can buy or download a copy of the film from Hope’s movie website. Hope will also be making his documentary available for showings in theaters.


48 Responses to Madison Filmmaker Debuts Documentary Comparing CO/SD Approaches to Marijuana

  1. It’s amazing the amount of money that is behind the push for full legalization. The tactics used are reminiscent of big tobacco.

  2. Bill Fleming

    …wait… is that… font… Courier?

    Ah Courier, the dreaded default substitution font from the early days of Adobe Post Script laser printers!
    We used to only get that font by accident, when the fonts we specified were having trouble downloading to the printing device. Believe it or not, it was more despised back in the day than “Comic Sans” is today, albeit for a different reason.

    It meant something in our process was seriously messed up. If it’s being used as a metaphor for that, it’s brilliant.

    If it’s being used because the designer likes how it looks, I can see that too. It does have possibilities, but the designer has to “leam to kem” it better.

    Sorry about the typographical aside, Cory. It’s just that one doesn’t see the Courier font all that often these days, and seeing it caused me to wax nostalgic. Pass the doobage, set the Courier, and hold the mayo. Chomp, chomp, chomp.

  3. Tangential but interesting, Bill! I’ll keep the faith that every artist has reasons for his/her choices. Curious: in these specific letters, what are the kerning issues? If ordered to leave it Courier, what spacing would you change?

    Ooooh! While we’re at it, check out this online kerning test! I actually got a couple right! :-)

  4. Bob Newland

    Lynn, we’ve (“we” being folks who have advocated legalization for the past 40-or-so years) always suspected that the big money industrialists would come in and ruin things once we did the heavy lifting for them. Not much we can do about it. In five years, cannabis will likely follow the beer route. The “Budweiser” of bud will have about 85% of the market, supplying the folks who wear wifebeater shirts, flipflops and cut-off sweat pants to walmart, while the rest of us will sample around the connoisseur aisles at Breadroot Weed, Feed and Seed.

  5. tara volesky

    Hopefully the reservations will not be bought off by the liquor, tobacco and big pharma. Tribes, don’t compromise your principles to the corporations. The ball is in your court and you can grow the hemp and heal the people.

  6. Bill Fleming

    Okay, (and this is all subjective, of course) but I would move all the letters in “Pot” closer together to help unify the intrusion of the American Flag/Cannabis stem into the word. As it, the word stands visually as three distinct letters and proud the margins unnecessarily. “Dammit Jim, I’m a word, not a string of phonetic symbols!”

    Then, in the word “movie,” the space between the “o” and the “v” aren’t visually consistent with the space between the “v” and the “i,” neither of which are consistent with the space between the “m” and the “o.” Tighten them all to the “mo” spec. You would also then move the “e” over closer as well. Courier doesn’t respond very well to overall “tracking” instructions so it has to be hand-kerned letter by letter.

    The line of all caps mostly has problems in word spacing. You could drive a truck through those gaps. And the punctuation (comma and period) just look goofy. Space before and after comma are equal. Not goos. Space between “Y” and “period” make it look like a the spacebar was hit intentionally after the “Y.” Track it all tighter, then hand adjust to put words closer together.

    The number (date) is probably okay, but too loose for my taste, and too big for now particular reason.

    All that said, it’s a good poster design. I’d like it to be a great one instead. And it wouldn’t take much. Just a little more attention to detail.

  7. I’ve stated previously a few concerns about legalization effort.

    1st: I support the legalization of growing hemp which has miniscule amounts of THC and has an incredible amount of applications that have been shown historically and are still being developed today. Many of those hemp applications are better for the environment than conventional alternatives some of which use petro-chemicals. I used to drink Hemp Milk years ago until it just got too expensive. One 8-Ounce glass contains the following healthy nutrients:

    •900mg Omega-3 Fatty Acid.
    •2800mg Omega-6 Fatty Acid.
    •All 10 Essential Amino Acids.
    •4 grams of Digestible Protein.
    •46% of RDA of Calcium.
    •0% Cholesterol.
    •Potassium.
    •Phosphorous

    If legalized Hemp Milk should be more affordable and I’d love to see Hemp become a cash crop for our tribes and farmers with so many positive applications it can be used for.

    2nd: With the momentum growing for the legalization of Cannabis some of it being now pushed by the incredible amount of money that has been already made where it is now legal I see medical claims by those advocating as being a cure for virtually everything imaginable! When they make outrageous medical claims they lose credibility and it reeks of desperation and it’s just lacking effort or being lazy. Yes it has helped certain conditions but at a certain percentage not being what it was hyped up to be. Much of it depends on a person’s body chemistry and how they react to meds. Believe me! I am not a fan of Big Pharma and how they manipulate the system getting drugs on the market that never should of made it.

    3rd: What I see is a glorification of Cannabis which is disturbing especially among our youth. What examples and tools are we teaching our youth in one of the most valuable life skills the ability to cope with adversity by legalizing it?

  8. Bill Fleming

    p.s. Cory, I got an 87 on your test. Not sure I agree with some of their “answers” but oh well.

  9. Mr. Newland, I’m glad you are finally admitting you just want to smoke pot for the sake of smoking pot. I can respect that position, my good friend.

  10. [Bill: always a pleasure to hear an artist at work! You and Michael Hope would enjoy each other’s company.]

  11. Bob, Lynn, Tara—if there’s money to be made, is there any way to avoid seeing bigger corporations take over a bigger share of the market? Budweiser, Big Macs, The Rick Dees Top 40… will the mass economy always drive us toward a situation where the majority will consume a cheap, mediocre product?

  12. tara volesky

    I see hemp as a lucrative income for family farmers. If cannabis and hemp were going to be lucrative for big corporations, it would have been legalized years ago. Just the opposite, cotton, timber, big oil, big pharma and the hospital and prison industrial complex will campaign against it. Our government officials will too, because they are owned by the corporations. Look at all the small cannabis shops in CO, and Washington. There population and tourism is growing like weeds. I see no problem legalizing medical cannabis and hemp. Both would be great for SD.

  13. Bill Fleming

    yeesh… I go to write a thing about good typography and then forget to proofread my own post for typos. happens every time I get too cocky. Instant karma. Sorry for the sidetrack, Cory. I’d like to meet your friend, or at least see his movie. :-)

  14. Bob Newland

    “Will the mass economy always drive us toward a situation where the majority will consume a cheap, mediocre product?”

    Yes. And you have yours. Its name is grudznick.

  15. Deb Geelsdottir

    Lol Newland! He got ya good Grudz! Hahaha!

  16. Suspected gunman in Portland double homicide was hounding victims for medical marijuana, lawyer says http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/04/suspected_gunman_in_portland_d.html

    This guy was not even a patient and did not have a card. Didn’t Oregon just legalize recreational pot? Access should be easy as it is but this guy is alleged to have harassed and then shot this couple for medical Cannabis.

    One commenter from Oregon stated I could have sworn we were all told, “Pot users are mellow and non violent. Legalization will take the violence out of the violent underworld of drug trade.”

  17. Another pot related murder on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border this past Tuesday allegedly committed by 3 young men that were smoking pot which we are always told in an effort to fully legalize just mellows you out and is non violent yet if I anyone looks at all the crime reports it seems to be a common factor in impaired judgment. http://www.startribune.com/local/east/300199621.html

    Many people are sad and angry at what happened in the Twin Cities metro area with what happened to this father of 5 and a well known volunteer in his community of St. Croix Falls, WI. Where this crime took place is a popular area on the St. Croix river being a launching point for canoes and kayaks that paddle down about 27 miles to William O’ Brian State Park near Stillwater. The St. Croix River is a National Scenic Waterway.

    Recreational pot should not be legalized. We as a society already have enough issues with addiction. If it is for medical use I’d advise to go the route Minnesota has used to limit the opportunities for abuse.

  18. At least one of the young men turned himself in and is expected to appear in court today and the police have been in contact with the other two. A father of 5 now dead, a family and community mourn and three young men whose lives will never be the same due to bad choices and a “benign herb”. http://www.kare11.com/story/news/crime/2015/04/16/arrest-made-in-fishermen-fight-death/25902583/

  19. St. Paul parents grew pot, let infant smoke it, charges say

    Here is the article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press
    http://www.twincities.com/crime/ci_27937923/st-paul-parents-grew-pot-let-infant-smoke

    Here is what a neighbor said along with the rest of the story on WCCO. Again another sad story.http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/04/17/father-who-gave-baby-weed-charged-with-endangerment/

    So the father who just happens to live in his mother’s basement (No surprise right?) claims he smokes it and often for medicine(That sounds like a great defense!) seems to have scales and everything ready to have a little business there and at least one neighbor notices the traffic to that house. The father has this infant smoke weed as medicine too?

    What is wrong with this picture?

    Is the South Dakota Democratic Party going to be pushing for legalizing pot? Is DFP?

    I ask about what examples and tools are we teaching our youth in one of the most valuable life skills the ability to cope with adversity by legalizing it? There has never been a response from the advocates.

    Interestingly this same question was asked to those advocating full legalization in Colorado but none of the advocates answered. They were too focused on the financial potential and legally getting their “fix”.

  20. What kind of idiots let their children smoke anything?

    Lynn, I’ve said before that legalizing pot is not among my legislative priorities. If recreational marijuana use has any net benefits for society, those benefits are likely less than the benefits of at least twenty other policy objectives we could pursue (start with raising teacher pay, then downtown redevelopment, fighting Keystone XL and Powertech/Azarga, our referenda on SB 69 and SB 177, student debt, state tax reform…). Succeed on those issues and several others, and maybe I’ll turn to legalizing industrial hemp for economic development (rope, plywood, and paper factories!) and agricultural diversification.

    That said, I’m pleased to see my man Michael Hope making movies. I hope he can turn movie-making into a full-time living, as he has done with past creative adventures.

  21. Cory,

    Thank you for making that clear regarding Dakota Free Press. I look forward to see other movies made by Michael Hope.

    I’m curious if there is an effort in the SDDP for full legalization and if so, how much?

    ps. Hopefully proper use of punctuation.

  22. SDDP would be wasting its time making legalization a primary policy goal. We have several bigger fish to fry.

  23. larry kurtz

    Legalization should be a primary goal for SDP since the mainstream SDDP have forced progressives like Jeff Barth to the margins.

  24. Larry,

    So the message we teach these kids is that if your having a bad day or if something is bothering you getting high is a solution?

  25. larry kurtz

    I was 16 in 1970 watching the Vietnam War killing an Elkton boy when i smoked my first joint, Lynn. Cannabis really came home from Southeast Asia brought by veterans of Hell.

  26. Larry,

    My uncle who is like an older brother to me volunteered for two tours in Vietnam. I remember how violent he was when he came back and over time how he adjusted. Seeing our guys come back home and how mentally they were scarred from the horrors of war some of which could barely function will always be with me.

    How does a mind altering drug help us in learning one of the most valuable life skills of coping with adversity?

  27. So they’re blaming pot on this St Croix stabbing? That is pretty far-fetched I would say. Three hours of stubbornness and not taking the high road and moving to another place to fish is more the culprit I would say. And really, no alcohol was involved?

  28. bearcreekbat

    Lynn, with all due respect, your logic is a bit flawed. I read nothing in your linked stories to suggest that smoking pot caused or even contributed to the stabbing any more than eating breakfast that morning did. If we conclude otherwise and rely on this flawed conclusion to support your anti-legalization argument, we will only harm other pot users who do not engage in such bad behavior, by making them criminals and subjecting them to jail time for doing something that has not hurt anyone.

    “This fallacy is also known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for “with this, therefore because of this”, and “false cause”. A similar fallacy, that an event that follows another was necessarily a consequence of the first event, is sometimes described as post hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin for “after this, therefore because of this”).”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

    Don’t you think it would be better policy to punish people for actual crimes, such as murder or child abuse and neglect, rather than punishing people who do not commit such crimes for unrelated activities, such as smoking pot?

  29. larry kurtz

    Adaptation is essential to evolution, Lynn. Tobacco, peyote and mushrooms were keys to answers in pre-Columbian America: still are in Indian Country. Sugar is a mind-altering drug, so is public radio.

    There have been copious gnashings of teeth about a law overturning the people’s will on a minimum wage for minors then send them off to kill people whose political views don’t match ours.

    American exceptionalism or flagrant hypocrisy? There’s an unanswerable question, Cory.

  30. Larry,

    Wouldn’t you say that the use of mushrooms, pot and other drugs simply mask the hurt and a deep need someone has?

    I’m not saying everything is going to be hunky dory but how about learning to communicate, talk and get those life experience toxins out and finding healthier ways to cope such as exercise, art, being out in nature or whatever hobby and sacred space you can fall back to for a more longer term healthier approach?

  31. BCB,

    Maybe a point I tried to make is that in each instance they were under the influence where it affected their ability to judge a situation, slow things down and think of what the negative consequences will be from their actions. With each instance all parties lost and could of been avoided. There are deeper issues at play here and it’s a tragedy.

  32. The recovered substance abusers I’ve visited with volunteered to me that they are not for recreational use of pot. They see it as the same as alcohol or any other drug.

    I’d be curious as to what AA and NA would think about legalization or even those who professionals specialize in treating addiction.

  33. bearcreekbat

    Lynn, that is a reasonable concern, yet it doesn’t really apply to pot. I have seen no studies that even suggest pot negatively affects someone’s “ability to judge a situation, slow things down and think of what the negative consequences will be from their actions,” any more than sugar or cigarettes. Over-imbibing on alcohol, on the other hand, definitely can interfere with someone’s “ability to judge a situation, slow things down and think of what the negative consequences will be from their actions.”

    Even WebMD, which doers not advocate pot legalization, lists different potential negative mental experiences from smoking pot as “A distorted sense of time, Random thinking, Paranoia, Anxiety, Depression, and Short-term forgetfulness.”

    http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/marijuana-use-and-its-effects

    While we may want to warn folks of these potential consequences, do we really need to treat them as criminals if they commit no other “crime” than ingesting pot?

  34. bearcreekbat

    Lynn, as for the articles mention of pot smoking before the conflict, this reminds me of something a very intelligent person posted on another thread in Cory’s blog:

    “Oh dear! Another round of sensationalism and stoking fears over another issue brought on by the God Squad that has little to do with reality.”

    Substitute “anti-pot squad” for God squad and I think you will see what I mean.

  35. BCB,

    “any more than sugar or cigarettes?” Are you sure about that? Everyone’s body chemistry is different and how they react to exposure to these chemicals. What are the long term consequences? We now know that it affects brain shrinkage in certain areas and some of that is permanent in kids up to a certain age of usage. Plus factor in how certain people may be more sensitive or predisposed negatively with consumption long term just like being exposed to a traumatic event. The outcome can be different among individuals. The strains they have now are far stronger than the 60’s and 70’s and it’s being pushed even further for example the Bruce Banner strain.

  36. tara volesky

    The difference between now and 40 years ago when it came to smoking pot, is back when I was in HS, during lunch hour, my classmates smoked in the HS parking lot. Now if you do that you get arrested. The laws are getting carried away when it comes to cannabis. It’s not going to go away. People are always going to use it. Prohibition does not work. I would be more concerned about using and dealing prescription drugs. Many successful people use it recreationally and it has no effect on their job performance. I think there are more dangerous things readily available that can actually harm you like prescription drugs.

  37. BCB,

    I knew that my comment regarding what is happening in the SD High School Activities Association will come back to me but the comparison is not the same. LOL :) Not even close.

    I don’t know about very intelligent either :) Just another flawed human being trying to make sense of things.

  38. tara volesky

    Tune in tonight on CNN, WEED 3. I am curious to see what Dr. Sanjay Gupta has to say. I am more concerned about chemicals we eat and drink and our bought off Politcians that are owned by Monsanto than I am about cannabis.

  39. Tara,

    I certainly would not want my airline pilot being high before take off or be stuck in a foxhole in combat when our lives depend on each other with someone who is high or a surgeon ready to operate on me. Not with what I’ve experienced with former co-workers who either came in high or got high at work. Would you?

  40. bearcreekbat

    Lynn, please don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to diminish the potential health issues that can arise from overuse of any substance. For example, overuse of sugar can lead to diabetes, obesity, and a myriad of related problems, all apparently more life threatening than the negative results of overusing pot. Even drinking too much water can have a much worse effect on humans than heavy pot smoking, yet we don’t make it a crime to drink too much water.

    “Water intoxication can occur in a variety of different clinical settings but is generally not well recognised in the medical literature. The condition may go unrecognised in the early stages when the patient may have symptoms of confusion, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting, but also changes in mental state and psychotic symptoms. Early detection is crucial to prevent severe hyponatraemia, which can lead to seizures, coma, and death.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1770067/

    The potential adverse health consequences, short term, or long term, don’t justify criminalizing the excessive use of alcohol, sugar or water. Why do you believe that potential adverse health effects of pot justify treating otherwise law-biding users as criminals? I am very interested in understanding the rationale disparate treatment of pot users (which even seems to be a form of discrimination), especially since the evidence of corresponding beneficial effects of pot keeps getting stronger.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4

  41. larry kurtz

    Three states (California, Oregon, and Washington) had medical cannabis laws effective prior to 1999. Ten states (Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont) enacted medical cannabis laws between 1999 and 2010. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate (95% CI, −37.5% to −9.5%; P = .003) compared with states without medical cannabis laws.

    http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1898878

  42. tara volesky

    Lynn, I wouldn’t want my airline pilot high or drunk. I tried pot out of curiosity, but it did nothing for me. Maybe I didn’t inhale it right. But if an adult wants to smoke a joint……who cares, let them. They can think for themselves. I would rather legalize medical marijuana than see so many people addicted to prescription drugs.

  43. BCB,

    How many people have you or anyone lost or had to stand back and watch someone suffer and waste from addiction? I’m sure one too many! I know I have. Our society already has enough issues with addiction. Cars crashing due to being under their 3rd or 4th driving while under influence of something seem to be several a week in Sioux Falls or Mitchell and think of how many more just get lucky and make it home without incident each day or night? Then there is the dysfunction at home and the cycle of behavior/disease that gets passed down generations unless they find a way to break from it.

    You are absolutely right how people can be addicted to many things. I know of someone close to me that almost lost their jaw from a sugar addiction, another smoked themselves to death even while on Oxygen and another drank himself to death in a fairly short time with easy access to pot in the home. Both died before their time.

    I believe we should definitely increase the amount of taxes on alcohol to help cover the costs our county and city governments have to deal with in alcohol related crimes and incidents. When was the last time it was raised here in SD? Late 90’s due to pressure from the alcohol lobby?

    A major concern as stated above is the health claims made by those advocating full legalization and even some regarding medical. The claims are blown way out of proportion, pre-mature and some of it is just obviously BS out of laziness and throwing it out there. Fortunes have been made from legalization and there will be more millionaires coming but with human nature when there is money to be made snake oil sales seem to increase besides someone making dumb claims to support their addiction.

    What is that old saying among addicts? “You can’t kid a kidder?”

  44. bearcreekbat

    Lynn, I too have known family and friends who suffered severe problems from the adverse effects of overusing alcohol, tobacco, and sugar.

    My stepfather abused alcohol and regularly drove with a bottle of whiskey, which he mixed with coke, at his side. When I was a teenager, he was driving drunk one night with my mother in the passenger’s seat. He crossed the center line on a curve, had a head on collision, which killed him and resulted a year long stay in the hospital for my passenger mother. She suffered severe brain damage and multiple broken bones and limbs. The other driver and his passengers also suffered severe injuries.

    I have a cousin who abused alcohol and she too managed to wreck a car when driving drunk and severely damage her body. She continued abusing alcohol and today she looks 20 years older than she is.

    I have known and worked with many folks who have divorced due to alcohol abuse, and men and women who have had their children removed and their parental rights terminated due to their inability to control their alcohol use.

    I have friend who went on a drinking binge and when he came to our house seeking help to stop drinking he went into dangerous alcohol withdrawal. I called our family doctor and he warned us that our friend could die unless we immediately gave my friend alcohol. We gave him something to drink, which relieved his symptoms, and then helped him get to detox where they could control the dangers of withdrawal.

    I have a close friend who abused sugar for many years, ultimately becoming morbidly obese. He then contracted type 2 diabetes and nearly lost a foot.

    I have also known many responsible drinkers, sugar eaters and smokers who did not experience similar problems.

    I have known many, many pot smokers over the years, yet I never met a single person who wrecked a vehicle due to pot consumption, nor suffered any measurable adverse health effects from their consumption. Some smoked pot daily, some only smoked on special occasions. None experienced anything like I have described above.

    As for the many pot smokers I have known, the only severe problems that I have seen them suffer resulted from laws criminalizing pot, not from any health consequences from smoking pot. The most significant problems included being arrested, jailed and in many cases being labeled as a life long felon. Two of my close friends spent several years in SD prisons for non-violent pot offenses committed in their 20’s. I knew a family with a 15 year old child who helped an undercover agent obtain an ounce of pot. He was sent to Janklow’s “boot camp” until age 21 for this, his first and only offense.

    Another fellow that I helped with a problem had a girlfriend with MS, who treated her symptoms with pot. Neither he or she had much money, as they lived in a high unemployment area (the Pine Ridge Reservation) and the gal was disabled due to the effects of her MS. On one occasion the fellow traveled with the gal to her dealer’s house and they purchased two ounces of pot for her. He agreed to help her sell one ounce to raise the money to cover the cost of the ounce she would smoke for her MS. During a chance encounter with the police an officer discovered the pot in the gal’s purse and arrested the fellow and the gal. The fellow got 8 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute the pot after the gal made a deal with prosecutors to testify against the fellow, which was the only way she could avoid going to jail herself.

    I had another friend just out of high school years ago who smoked pot and sold a small amount to an undercover agent. Based on the sale, police raided my friend’s house, forced their way in and one officer slapped my friend’s girlfriend. When my unarmed friend tried to intervene to protect her an officer shot and killed him.

    Sorry for the rant Lynn, but these life experiences weigh heavily in my view that our marijuana laws (not marijuana itself) hurt people. Alcohol, tobacco, sugar, and many legal other substances cause significantly more harm to individuals and families than pot. Isn’t it time to turn this around and stop the insanity of arresting and locking up pot smokers?

  45. BCB,

    I’m sorry to read of your loss due to addiction and your friend who was shot by the police officer. It’s so painful and has such a ripple effect in our lives.

    Maybe we can agree that each of us have seen different things in people’s use of pot and what the consequences were which have now shaped our opinion. I know in past postings I have gone on sharing my experiences with those who seemed consumed with heavy pot use and what it lead to with more hard core drugs or their inability to function at work or in relationships. I just scratched the surface with much of it living outside of South Dakota.

    Hey! Thank you for sharing though as it shows that things are way more complicated than what they seem at times. There is more that I know that is going on but I can’t share it on a blog. This is my last reply on this matter and will finish up over at the GOED/Lawrence & Schiller Baloney claims.

  46. bearcreekbat

    Thanks for your kind words Lynn! I really appreciate your points of view and I believe we share most values.

  47. Hello All,
    My name is Michael Hope, and I produced, directed, edited, wrote, and hosted the film Pot (the Movie).
    A couple quick things:
    Thank you Cory for the article / mention.
    Thank you to all for your polite discourse about this topic.

    I am respectfully responding to this forum because assumptions are made in the comments about my motives and artistic point of view without seeing my movie.

    I would invite any and all to please watch the film prior to making assumptions about the content or artistic perspective.

    Artistically, I hope to always speak out against injustice, intolerance, violence, hatred, greed, etc. This is only one of a number of social issues I care about.

    So, I ask, what level of injustice is intolerable? How long shall we continue to prosecute and persecute people because of a long held prejudice, with no basis in fact? While use of this substance is relatively the same across all ethnicities, prosecution of minorities is often more than 10 to one. Is that acceptable in our “land of the free”?

    To be clear Lynn, I am an artist who completely produced this film independently, free of any financial influence, as an artistic piece to try and communicate and educate, and to help continue moving the conversation forward, and help my fellow citizens and our legislators to make informed and educated decisions and policy regarding this substance.

    In a perfect world, no one would ever choose to or need to take any substance. That is what I hope Heaven is. In the mean time, here on Earth, people choose to ingest substances either for medicinal, religious, or recreational reasons ( and in some situations, a combination therein ). One of the many points I make in the film is that I am hugely concerned with the proliferation of illicit pharmaceuticals and street drugs, and also quite cautious about our societies’ seemingly outright celebration of all things alcohol.

    The “ignore it and it will go away” model for pot doesn’t work. It has been, and will always be out there. The outdated prejudice against cannabis, and historical misinformation is very dangerous. The reality is, well meaning people have perpetuated this bad information to our kids. Telling kids that pot is as dangerous as or equal to cocaine, heroine, or meth, is not only completely false, but equivalent to saying that because they are colored liquids, gasoline, whiskey, and tea are all the same. What I propose in the film is that people should be educated on any substance they put in their body, and make educated choices.

    When you speak of parents letting their young child smoke pot, it’s clearly a straw man argument. No reasonable person would advocate that type of irresponsible behavior. How many news stories could we find of irresponsible parents and alcohol consumption?

    The truth is,under a doctors care, children have and do benefit medicinally from cannabis for serious ailment like cancer, seizures, and so on. Perpetuating misinformation and stigma about this substance is truly harming others by keeping them from exploring what has been described as “life saving” by many responsible parents trying to help their children.

    The medical validity is beginning to be better understood, but still has quite some distance to go. This film addresses that aspect in depth.

    While many scoff at the recreational side while sipping their Merlot, it should be noted, that beyond the well documented detrimental health effects of alcohol consumption, the fact is, there is a public health aspect to the recreational side of cannabis use.

    The vast majority of domestic and sexual violence is alcohol related. Cannabis use typically does not have this type of violence associated with it.

    Alcohol is not a safe, healthy, or viable option for many to relax or celebrate. Should alcohol be the only choice?

    Each year, thousands die from alcohol in America, and millions around the world. To date, no one has ever died from a cannabis overdose. That’s a pretty important distinction.

    The propensity for addition and repercussion of excessive use is substantially less with cannabis than with hard drugs, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol.

    Parents are being thrown in jail and families destroyed for using a substance that is safer than peanuts.

    Law enforcement has much more pressing things to do with their time and resources than chase around “pot heads”.

    Mark Twain said “Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.”

    The injustice and harsh judgement of cannabis consumers is a traditional custom we need to change. We have a storied history of casting dispersions on groups because we don’t take the time to educate ourselves. I believe empathy, kindness, and seeking to understand is a better approach than judgment and condemnation. I am truly so happy for people that don’t choose to or need to use any substance to feel good or well. They are truly blessed. Adults are not always the most receptive to learning new things and changing their minds, I get that, however, I believe that most people prefer liberty and justice for all, and laws based on fact. That is what the film is really about.

    If you would like to stream the film, please visit potthemovie.com
    It’s a good movie. You should really consider watching it : )

    All my best.
    Peace and Love,
    Michael Hope