Reefer Awesomeness

Reefer Madness is a 1936–1939 American propaganda and drug addiction film revolving around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana—from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness due to marijuana addiction.

Originally financed by a church group under the title Tell Your Children, the film was intended to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them about the dangers of cannabis use. However, soon after the film was shot, it was purchased by producer Dwain Esper, who re-cut the film for distribution on the exploitation film circuit beginning in 1938/39 through the 40s and 50s.

The film was “rediscovered” in the early 1970s and gained new life as unintentional satire among advocates of cannabis policy reform. Despite its finding a popular audience as a cult film, critics have panned it as one of the worst films ever made. Today, it is in the public domain in the United States.

We’ve certainly come a long way since the films release and rather than descending into madness, we have ascended into awesomeness; Reefer Awesomeness that is. Instead of rape and manslaughter, cannabis users are more often guilty of “crimes” such as binge eating and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. In fact, the typical ‘pot-head’ stereotypes are far from the truth, as evidenced in the Marijuana Policy Projects Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Consumers. Not only did two president, Brangelina, and Oprah make the list, but so did Martha Stewart!

Other influential people who support marijuana rescheduling and decriminalizing are the members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who suggested removing marijuana from Schedule 1 in order to make further research easier to accomplish, and Sanjay Gupta, American neurosurgeon and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent. In the field, the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids—the medical compounds found in marijuana—in the treatment of caner has only been discovered recently. Since the late 1990s, numerous preclinical studies have demonstrated the antitumor effects of cannabinoids in a variety of cancers.

Entrepreneurs and politicians have also taken notice of the awesome potential of cannabis. Pot is a boom for tax revenues in Colorado, outpacing revenue from alcohol taxes in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2015. Colorado collected almost $70 million in marijuana taxes during that time, nearly double the $42 million collected from alcohol taxes. The Santee Sioux tribe has already proven its business acumen, running a successful casino, a 120-room hotel, and a 240-head buffalo ranch on the plains of South Dakota. But those enterprises have not been immune to competition and the lingering effects of the Great Recession, so the small tribe of 400 is undertaking a new venture—opening the nation’s first marijuana resort on its reservation. This resort will give a whole new meaning to ‘smoke signals.’

Higher still on the totem pole of awesome marijuana madness, the Portland, Oregon airport will now allow you to fly with it in-state and astrophysicists from the University of Hawaii have discovered Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a meteorite found in the Nevada desert…talk about far out man.

From this short list of reefer awesomeness, it is clear that cannabis is not the “assassin of youth” it was once thought to be, but instead, a freedom torch. For both medical and recreational marijuana users, the grass really does look greener on the other side of the hill.



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