Me, neither.

So I watched a little film called Reefer Madness the other night with my friend Tim. It was filmed in 1937/1938 and was originally intended to raise awareness of this new narcotic that threatens to destroy the minds of young men and women: marihuana; however, I’ve learned via Wikipedia, it was bought by a different producer before it was released and re-edited into an exploitation film that was largely forgotten until the 1970’s, when fans of said narcotic found it humorous and it quietly reached a cult status. I never would have described this movie as “exploitive.” Maybe I just don’t know the real meaning of “exploitation film,” because when I hear that phrase, I think of really dirty movies. This movie had nothing of the sort in it. It played like a bad public service announcement that seriously missed the mark. If you believe what this movie says, the use of marihuana (as it is spelled in the film) will lead to or cause:

  • Dancing
  • Fast music
  • Ridiculously good piano playing
  • Things to be funny
  • “Free Thoughts”
  • Uncontrollable, shifty eye movement
  • Creepiness
  • Rape
  • Making out with women who look 40
  • Untying of ties
  • Unintentional manslaughter
  • Intentional manslaughter
  • Fast driving
  • Loosening up
  • Messed-up hair
  • Running over old men
  • Women not knowing their place
  • Angry jurors to cry out for the death penalty

What a great movie. I’m really, truly surprised that it never got the MST3K treatment. It’s extremely easy to do, too, because Tim and I were cracking ourselves up with our on-the-spot amateur comments; imagine what professionals in a writing room could do. Here’s an interesting thing that the movie said, “Marihuana grows wild in all 48 states.” I have not been able to confirm this just yet, but if that’s true . . . what happened? I’m not a reefer fan, of course, but come on! Grew wild? All 48 states? Do you know how many states it grows wild in now? NONE! What kind of war has been exacted these last 70 years? We’ve wiped out a weed! I’m sure millions of home owners would love for us to do the same with dandelions.

One other thing. What’s with the war on pot, anyway? Granted, I don’t use it. I don’t have any close friends, which I know of, that use it, either. But I’ve pretty much been in the understanding for many years now that it’s an extremely tame drug. Not healthy, to be sure, but not much worse than cigarettes and not as bad as alcohol. It tends to make people lazy and dumb, from what I’ve heard, so I guess that’s a bad thing in our education-obsessed culture. But all the hippie-conspiracy theorists have said the real reason is that it’s so easy to grow, and the whole plant can be used for so many things, that the government hasn’t been able to successfully tax it, so it’s been banned under the reasoning that it’s a dangerous narcotic. I don’t really know, though. And in the end I don’t really care that much, either. I just needed something to write about.


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