The film places much of the blame for marijuana criminalization on Harry Anslinger (the first American drug czar) who promoted false information about marijuana to the American public as a means towards abolition.
The film follows the history of federal policies and social attitudes towards marijuana, beginning at the turn of the twentieth century.
The history presented is broken up into parts, approximately the length of a decade. Each decade is introduced by paraphrasing the official attitude towards marijuana at the time (e.g. “Marijuana will make you insane” or “Marijuana will make you addicted to heroin”), and closed by providing a figure for the amount of money spent during that period on the “war on marijuana.”
The film is completely composed of archival footage, much of which is from public domain U.S propaganda films and feature films such as Reefer Madness made available by the Prelinger Archives.
The documentary was narrated, free-of-charge, by actor Woody Harrelson.
Marijuana is the most controversial drug of the twentieth century. Smoked by generations of musicians, students and workers to little discernible ill effect, it continues to be reviled by the vast majority of governments around the world.
With his new film, Grass, veteran filmer Ron Mann brings his impeccable historical facility and story telling skills to recount how a relatively harmless drug has been demonized for decades.
With a rueful yet incisive script, deft editing and an impressive soundtrack featuring original songs by Mark Mothersbaugh and a veritable pot-pourri of tunes ranging from the Swing Era’s “Reefer Man” through Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women” to the hippie lament “One Toke Over The Line,” Ron Mann’s Grass boasts extraordinary production values.
Funny yet political, Grass charts the terrible loss in imprisoned lives and billions of dollars wasted fighting a drug that refuses to go away.
Soundtrack disabled due to ‘copyright’ on the full length documentary.