The new crowd-funded documentary, The Culture High, makes the case for the reform of cannabis prohibition laws - and much more. Its executive producer Adam Scorgie told Life Links about the argument the movie is making.
“The Culture High” is bold, and it’s hard-hitting, relentlessly blasting what the makers see as illogical American drug laws with a feverish mix of archive footage and prominent interviewees. In the movie’s opening minutes it states its aim: to tackle the question, “should marijuana be legalized?” - but the two-hour documentary goes much further than that, portraying drug prohibition laws as symptomatic of a greater social sickness: the power of big business over the establishment.
Life Links editor Sophie Kirby spoke to the movie’s producer, Adam Scorgie, via Skype. He told her how his opinion on cannabis prohibition was transformed when he started researching his first movie on the subject, “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High”.
“I just really wanted to do an expose of the industry, how this billion-dollar industry functioned while remaining illegal” he said, “and then as you start diving into it and looking at how policies were put into place, you start questioning everything”.
“And then you sit down with some amazing people and they tell you about the corruption of law enforcement, how the drug war has done far more damage to communities than it’s helped. It’s tough to sit down with these people and for it to not totally change your world perspective.”
That’s why “The Culture High” came about, Adam said. Take a look at the highlights of the interview in this video - edited to get to the good bits but not changing any of the meaning.
The core of the movie’s message is that people should have the liberty to choose whether they use drugs or not - and that authorities are restricting populations’ personal freedoms without proper reasons to do so.
“The whole idea of: ‘This drug is harmful, so we are going to protect you from harming yourself by harming you further with punitive criminal damages doesn’t make sense to me. And just about every politician is avoiding that question like the plague now because it does look ridiculous,” Adam said.
“If harm is the concern, well then about 85 percent of our food products should be taken off the shelves tomorrow. It’s garbage we are serving our children from a young age, but we don’t care about that - that’s your choice, your right as a free individual in a free society. You can eat what you want, choose not to work out, you choose to make yourself unhealthy, but that’s your right.”
The filmmakers say they hope that viewers of the movie will be inspired to do their own research, to question policy makers if they “rattle off a study” as justification for keeping some drugs banned.
They also want to spark conversation and hope that, at some point, the swell of public opinion will bring a change in drug laws, not just in America but the world over. “Every country has to find what works for them,” Adam said. “The first step is not criminalising the simple user for possessing small amounts of certain drugs”.
Here’s the movie’s trailer. You can download the whole thing here.