High culture: The most mind-blowing documentaries about marijuana
Directed by Abby Epstein (The Business of Being Born) and produced by Ricky Lake (Hairspray) and Sol Tryon (Starlet), documentary Weed the People follows the controversial issue of cannabis-based medicine in the treatment of childhood cancers. The U.S. government currently classifies marijuana as a “Schedule 1” drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
That makes cannabis difficult to get your hands on in any form, but it also complicates the ease with which cannabis medicine can be effectively researched in America. “The US government has a patent on the compounds of marijuana,” Epstein told The A.V. Club in an interview, “but at the same time the U.S. government is saying it has no medical value.”
The documentary put the issue into context by delving into the history of marijuana and the complex legal fortresses surrounding it while also sharing the incredible stories of the children and parents desperate for help and for answers.
In the past decade there’s been a boom in documentaries and docuseries exploring marijuana in various manners and investigating the various truths, lies, and blurred lines regarding marijuana in modern America. Here’s our ranking of the nine best docuseries and documentaries about marijuana.
9. Bong Appetit (2016 – )
The Viceland cookery show challenges various chefs to come up with novel recipes that also happen to get people very high. The show features a variety of dishes created from scratch and spiced up by a not-so-secret ingredient (it’s THC). Dinner guests have included people like Christina Milian (Pulse) and John Salley (Bad Boys) and watching the series will most definitely give you a bad case of the munchies.
8. A NORML Life (2011)
NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) has been leading the effort to end marijuana prohibition since 1965 and in this documentary director Rod Pitman explores the efforts of the team and the medical effectiveness of cannabis on a variety of patients.
7. Lynching Charlie Lynch (2012)
By now you may already know about the much reported story of Charlie Lynch – the responsible business owner who was targeted by the DEA regarding his marijuana dispensary in California despite adhering to state laws. Rick Ray’s comprehensive portrait of the tale offers a gripping overview of the story that will probably have you seething with rage by the end.
6. The Future of Weed: High Country (2013)
As well as speculating on what the future of marijuana may entail, The Future of Weed: High Country also provides a thorough history on the culture, background, and medical discoveries involved with the drug and the dangerous amount of misinformation that has been shared about it.
5. Super High Me (2007)
Michael Biden’s spoof of Supersize Me is definitely the dumbest documentary on this list, but it’s still funny as fuck and a must-see for anyone with a serious love for Mary Jane. Following Doug Benson as he goes marijuana-free for 30 days before getting high as shit on it for another 30 days, the film guides us through the effects that cannabis has on the body.
4. Weed (2015)
Sanjay Gupta’s special report for CNN looks at the rise of medical marijuana, the often difficult process to score a prescription, and the scientific evidence currently available, proving the health benefits of marijuana in the fight against various diseases. Pivoting around the idea that marijuana prohibition has been “based on lies”, the film offers a ferocious condemnation of current marijuana restrictions while serving up some thoughtful evidence regarding why it should be made readily available.
3. American Weed (2012)
Though there was only one season of this insightful docuseries (which was one of the first to provide a balanced take on the drug), it still provides a comprehensive overview regarding marijuana in modern America.
Examining various aspects of weed culture including the legalization movement and the everyday running of the average weed company, it also delves into the people, developments, and struggles surrounding the legalization of weed with intelligence and empathy.
2. Weediquette (2016-)
As entertaining as it is hugely informative, this Viceland series explores everything there is to know about modern weed. Investigating the topic from every possible angle including law, religion, crime, health, medicine, and cultivation, host Krishna Andavolu paints an intriguing picture of the modern weed movement through some truly captivating interviews.
1. The Culture High (2015)
Featuring a range of fascinating interviews with professors, undercover agents, and celebrities including Snoop Dogg (Training Day), Wiz Khalifa, and B-Real from Cypress Hill, Brett Harvey provides an eye-opening exploration of the debate regarding marijuana legalization.
There are some truly touching testimonials involved with the movie, taking care to show both sides of the argument while raising a firm eyebrow at government efforts to control (and profit) from it.