Grass: Ron Mann Chronicles Pot Prohibition

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Nov 21, 2002.

  1. By Joe Bonni
    Source: Boston Weekly Dig

    Ron Mann's Grass is the definitive film on the history of marijuana prohibition in the US. Grass shows how in less than 100 years, marijuana has gone from a weed smoked primarily by Mexican immigrants in the south at the turn of the 20th century, to the only plant with a UN resolution calling for its worldwide prohibition – a resolution spearheaded by the first US drug czar Harry J. Anslinger.
    Grass is an impressive film for many reasons. Its compilation of data showing the exponential US budgetary increases allotted to fight the war on weed, from the ‘20s to the present (illustrated throughout the film in amusing animations), is chilling.

    Without any proselytizing, these numbers alone speak volumes about the problems inherent with prohibition. The historical research Mann did also shows. He watched over 400 hours of weed-related film.

    “Mostly anti-marijuana movies, that, by the way, make you want to smoke pot," Mann pointed out in an interview with the Dig. This extensive research and the outstanding archival footage used in Grass (from a ‘20s-era Cab Calloway performance of “The Reefer Man" to outtakes of President Nixon, who started the modern war on drugs) provide glimpses of near-forgotten parts of our country's history when drug war hysteria was still in its infancy or even non-existent.

    Viewers are reminded that as far back as 1944, New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia called for the end of marijuana prohibition, and his administration provided the first report that dismissed many of the myths surrounding marijuana use that persist to this day. Footage of Jimmy Carter calling for decriminalization – as President of the United States – seems like a clip of a leader from another country, particularly given the current political climate.

    And while Mann's Grass is an excellent chronology of prohibition law, (from the first marijuana control act passed in El Paso, Texas in 1914, to current problems with federal mandatory minimum sentences), the coup-de-grace of the film may be that it is narrated in a pleasant, laid back and knowing manner by none other than Woody Harrelson. Harrelson's known sympathy for the topic adds yet another layer of passion to a film that is educational and inspirational. “Film is motivated by emotions," Mann tells me. And with a topic like pot prohibition. "You either love something like this so much that you want to spend four years of your life on it, or your subject angers you to protest." Grass is both love and protest to Mann.

    Systematically showing (and dismissing) the government's various scare tactics used to criminalize marijuana over the last century (“It will kill you!" “It will make you go mad!" etc.), Grass is a perfect combination of political documentary and protest film, balancing meticulous research with new perspectives, solid conclusions, and fine, entertaining and engaging film-making. Originally released in 1999

    (“In 20 years, when marijuana is legal in the US, we'll have a real ending," Mann jokes when asked if he plans on updating the film any time soon), Ron will be in Boston for a special midnight screening of Grass this weekend, and will be answering questions and speaking with the audience after the film.

    In case you were wondering, yes, Mann inhales. “If someone hands me a joint," he told me while talking about his upcoming appearance, “I'll keep talking."

    Ron Mann will be speaking at a screening of Grass this Friday, November 22 at midnight at the Coolidge corner Theater.

    Check out: -- for more info.

    Source: Boston Weekly Dig (MA)
    Author: Joe Bonni
    Published: November 20 - 27, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Boston Weekly Dig

    Related Articles & Web Site:

    Grass The Movie
  2. Grass is for sure a killer movie!!
  3. Where can I get a copy of Mann's movie? I have never seen it before but I am excited about the movie and want to buy it! If any one knows where I can buy it let me know I live in Texas!
    Smoke on,
  4. I think has it.
  5. Your right! thanks for the advise.
  6. No problem, enjoy the show!!

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