7.3/10
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Grass (1999)

The history of the American government's war on marijuana in the 20th century.

Director:

Ron Mann

Writer:

Solomon Vesta

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Cast

Credited cast:
Woody Harrelson ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry J. Anslinger Harry J. Anslinger ... Himself (archive footage)
George Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
Cab Calloway ... Himself (archive footage)
Jimmy Carter ... Himself (archive footage)
Chevy Chase ... Himself (archive footage)
Tommy Chong ... Anthony 'Man' Stoner (archive footage)
Dwight D. Eisenhower ... Himself (archive footage)
Gerald Ford ... Himself (archive footage)
Jerry Garcia ... Himself (archive footage)
Allen Ginsberg ... Himself (archive footage)
John F. Kennedy ... Himself (archive footage)
Gene Krupa ... Himself (archive footage)
Fiorello LaGuardia Fiorello LaGuardia ... Himself (archive footage)
Timothy Leary ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

This film explores the history of the American government's official policy on marijuana in the 20th century. Rising with xenophobia with Mexican immigration and their taste for smoking marijuana, we see the establishment of a wrong headed federal drug policy as a crime issue as opposed to a public health approach. Fueled by prejudice, hysterical propaganda and political opportunism undeterred by voices of reason on the subject, we follow the story of a costly and futile crusade against a substance with debatable ill effects that has damaged basic civil liberties. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@home.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 July 2000 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Erva See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,578, 4 June 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$313,039, 17 September 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sphinx Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Woody Harrelson narrated this documentary for free. See more »

Quotes

["Prohibition cannot be enforced for the simple reason that the majority of the American people do not want it enforced and are resisting its enforcement. That being so, the orderly thing to do under our form of government is to abolish a law that cannot be enforced, a law which the people of the country do not want enforced."]
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits there is one more black & white clip, of a man saying that if just one person is discouraged because of the film, it was worth their time making it. See more »

Connections

Features Channel 2 Action News (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Barnyard in Orbit
Performed by Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Perrey
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User Reviews

 
A Stylish Documentary
24 October 2001 | by Tybalt-3See all my reviews

A lot of the discussion about -Grass- both here and in the press has focused on what the film is not. It isn't a documentary about marijuana use, nor is it intended to be. Instead, it's a film about the history of the "war" on marijuana in the U.S.

Mann's films are done in a "high" visual style (no joke intended) that is very graphic-intensive. While this isn't to everyone's taste, it does cut through the otherwise heavy use of archival footage. The narration is incisive, but it is kept thankfully to a minimum. The result is a documentary that entertains and instructs.

I was somewhat disappointed that the film did not go on in any detail about the post-1980 period, where some of the most interesting battles have been fought. Other than that, -Grass- is an excellent summary of how the "drug war" in the U.S. came to be fought in the way that it is today.

I suppose my other disappointment is that the film focuses exclusively on the U.S.; I had hoped that a Canadian such as Ron Mann would have examined the equally interesting history of marijuana prohibition in Canada.

-Grass- is well worth a viewing, both for its visual appeal and its committed take on an interesting subject.


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