American Drug War: The Last White Hope Kevin Booth

American Drug War: The Last White Hope Kevin Booth
If you're familiar with allegations that Oliver North and the CIA imported drugs to the U.S., or the Kerry Committee's conclusion the CIA certainly did fund drug traffickers, then you won't be surprised by American Drug War. If, however, you're among the self-assured stoners who slur lines like, "Man, you know, Reagan invented crack to sell it in inner cities," then this is the DVD to get you up to speed. Kevin Booth's 2007 film is nothing if not comprehensive. He gets down and dirty on skid row filming methheads, but also interviews an impressive roster, including former Republican governor Gary Johnson, disillusioned DEA agents, U.S. drug czars and requisite advocates Jello Biafra and Tommy Chong. Booth reveals the motivations behind a senseless prohibition that's clogged American prisons with a million non-violent offenders. Pharmaceutical companies want their products prescribed instead of organic alternatives. Private prison stocks sore when more poor users are incarcerated. The U.S. spends billions and billions to fight a harmless marijuana scourge "because bureaucrats are addicted to the funding." Sinister alcohol and tobacco companies fund The Partnership for a Drug Free America. Booth's own story factors in as well. His parents were upstanding citizens who both died from alcohol-related illness, yet rigidly scorned less harmful drugs like marijuana. His schizophrenic brother died of complications from pharmaceuticals. Booth himself battled painkiller addiction; he narrates and this is a decided weak point. With exceptionally credible sources it works better as hard journalism. Instead, his petulant, sub-Michael Moore narration will have anti-drug zealots rolling their eyes at another self-righteous know-it-all. Opponents can also seize upon a lack of objectivity. When pundits support the war on drugs, they're left looking like wilfully ignorant rubes. Booth's ideological bedmates are allowed to make shocking claims, for example: the only reason the U.S. occupies Afghanistan is to profit from the poppy crops. This strikes a rational person as somewhat dubious. Then again, it seemed outlandish that the CIA would support drug lords during the "Just Say No '80s," and that turned out to be true. (Sacred Cow)