7.3/10
3,383
28 user 51 critic

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 »
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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

The Ontario Censor Board wanted to remove some 1960s footage of some lab monkeys forced to smoke dope as it depicted animal cruelty. 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."]
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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

Referenced in Docventures: Hamppu (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Illegal Smile
Performed by John Prine
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User Reviews

A War Documentary
8 November 2000 | by Hank-68See all my reviews

'Grass' is a war documentary. From small beginnings, this war has escalated throughout the 20th century, costing billions of dollars, with no resolve in sight.

This sociological piece favors one side, that of legalization, and an end to the war on drugs. 'Grass' raises questions that, whatever your feelings towards the drug, are due for some objective debate. The subject matter is exclusively Grass in America, with only occasional mention of other drugs or countries.

Grass hurtles through a fascinating account of the social and political history of marijuana in the US. Important bills, social movements, and other events are documented in an appropriately mellow manner. The production is mostly stock footage with clever animations dispersed to signal a new law or time period. The soundtrack delivered the required music; 'One toke over the line', some Louis Armstrong and the Peter Tosh classic 'Legalize it'.

While largely focusing on the socio/politics of marijuana there is also an effort to dispel many of the myths of user effects. Humorous interviews and 'informational video's' from all eras show attempts by lobby groups to portray pot as Satan in a plant. It is made clear that there is no evidence that the drug causes insanity, perversion, and homicidal behavior. Just what the drugs effects really are, the documentary admits, is almost entirely unknown.

'Grass' is not a pot adventure; it doesn't advocate use. The focus is a condemnation of American belief that throwing people in jail will change individuals private practices.


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