How Weed Won the West Kevin Booth

How Weed Won the West Kevin Booth
The greatest irony of How Weed Won the West, Kevin Booth's, um, documentary on the ubiquity of medical marijuana in California, is that its legalization agenda is inadvertently subverted by a desultory presentation with uneducated, paranoid and transient "experts" going off about the evils of "the man." It is truly hard to imagine anyone not already inundated in the weed culture, enduring the quotidian in a fuzzy but thoughtful haze, taking this puerile nonsense seriously. Some initial observations seem sensible enough, as they point out the revenue possibilities of mainstreaming a product not currently taxed and regulated, noting that pot isn't really the kind of thing that drives people to violent acts and overtly antisocial behaviour. But it's all downhill from there. Radio host Alex Jones does some impressions (I guess you could call them that), ranting about a fascist government agenda, consumerist horrors and the conspiratorial regulation of heroin and cocaine. The argument posed for government trafficking of smack and coke is ― I kid you not ― that they need people in prison to make widgets and that a collective of high-ranking government men control the distribution and split the rewards amongst themselves (we assume in canvas bags with dollar signs on the side while cackling in their laboratories). A few weed connoisseurs are interviewed, discussing, with many pauses and lost tangents, the benefits of the herb and how it gives them a reason to live and contemplate the genius of Beefaroni and body movement as an expression of identity. Since most of them struggle to speak and often run off into wild accusation territory while scratching the unkempt mops on their head, they come off less as an inspiration and more as an argument against legalization. If all of this weren't enough, the greatest moment of this film comes when the narrator, who often makes glib comments about a retarded president and marijuana benefits without any statistics or facts, visits some Mexican drug lords. While they stand around holding firearms, covering their faces with handkerchiefs, he goes on about their merit and kindness, citing that the growing is a hobby that helps put their children through college. It was at this point that I actually laughed out loud and yelled, "Are you fucking kidding me?" at the television. Having personally worked on Grow Op investigations as a fraud investigator, I can attest to the fact that this "hobby" is almost always used for terrorist financing and crime syndicates. Wanting to legalize marijuana is one thing, as it really isn't something to fuss over and charging people for smoking it is ridiculous, but praising drug cartels is idiotic and ignorant. Of course, seeing that this is a documentary playing at the Global Marijuana March, these facts likely will not matter to the key demo. (Sacred Cow)