Across the Northwestern United States - in states like Oregon, Colorado and Washington - the sale and use of marijuana has now been legalized for a number of years. These states serve as case studies for the remainder of the nation, and additional countries which are currently considering widespread legalization.
Do the benefits of increased government funding and relief from burdensome drug convictions outweigh the potential risks? The documentary Northwest Trees travels to these regions in search of the answer.
The filmmakers find a thriving "culture of weed" where the drug is readily available and underage use is rampant. Surprisingly, this was precisely the same reality prior to the drug's legalized status. Long before the ban was lifted, kids as young as six years of age were experimenting with marijuana, and it continues to play an equally dominant role in their daily lives post-legalization. But the abundance of drug use in music videos and other popular media is likely more influential to young people than relaxed drug laws.
Interviews with school officials and teenagers reveal another epidemic of abuse with far more sinister consequences. The recreational use of prescription narcotics is on the rise among youth, and their addictive potency and crippling side effects are more severe than any posed by marijuana. The argument over whether or not marijuana serves as a gateway to these powerful drugs continues to remain open for debate, and seems to differ on a case-by-case basis. To be certain, though, narcotics abuse is climbing in many states and countries where bans on cannabis are still in place.
When it comes to the long and short-term risks associated with marijuana use, it can be a challenge to separate the propaganda from the hard scientific evidence. Truth is often the first casualty of any overly politicized issue, and the marijuana debate is no exception. Northwest Trees attempts to assemble an honest and unflinching account of each side of this debate.
In the end, it's going to take more time before definitive answers can be reached, and there's still much we have to learn, but the questions raised by the film pose an admirable start.
Directed by: Ben Grayzel
Hello Sleepydog.... Yes, I've experienced serious depressions beginning as a teenager, and I had no idea of when or how I would get into or out of them, and they lasted sometimes briefly but more likely they would continue much, much longer. I remember once telling myself that if I could just make it to 30 years of age without killing myself I might have a full life before me. And I turned 80 just a few months ago and still believe what I said above about marijuana. I have since learned about the endocannabinoid system of the human body, and think there is truth to that concept. I don't know how cannabis affects the brain but I remember that after beginning cannabis at age 29, my life changed for the better and I simply stopped falling into depressions. It seems to make everything more interesting, and meaningful. Also I've had fewer and fewer depressions in the last 50 years, and now I rarely find myself getting depressed. And cannabis seems to have the ability to facilitate the mind to displace or redirect it's thoughts and attentions.
Too much emphasis on the smoking of weed and not enough insight as to what these people people are doing with their lives. Who gives a damn if you smoke weed or not? What are you doing with you life otherwise. A boring exercise and a waste of time watching this doc. Had to fast forward through most of it just to get to the point. Producers must have been stoned to produce such a shallow presentation, absent of any content worth considering. Was the question even asked? What are your goals in life? What contribution do you want to make? What are your concerns? How can we make our planet healthier and happier? More depth of thought in consideration to the whole person would have been appreciated. Again, a truly boring waste of time viewing this poor excuse of a documentary.
The documentary maker is beyond clueless and so young he has no experience with the facts and science of the weed(aka cannabis) plant. This is factually a harmeless drug, the kids in the video are just that, clueless kids, who dont know jack besides popular sayings and words that MTV and stuff talks about. These kids really don't have any experience with the plant besides a few stolen tokes from their parents stash. Just like beer, kids will take it if you leave it open for them to try. THis is why herb is safer than liquor, most states require it be locked up as much as a weapon, so kids cannot get to it. Only clueless people and ignoramuses side with this documentary. For a fact.
Wow, such ignorance, I can't get past the first minute. " The only real argument is that cannabis will get into the hands of children?" Seriously? Wow, honey come to Humboldt County California and experience otherwise. The anti-legalization movement is largely about government, inherent corruption and higher values in our seperate-from-the-system society. Many farmers do not want to participate in funding war/killing people, which 35% of your tax dollars go towards. Many farmers who are anti-legalization are pro-family, pro-community, pro-organic farming, grow their own food, and are completely aware of government's inability to regulate anything to be more sustainable. Is there a single regulation which brought sustainability? Think about it. The government wants legalization for profit only, and our communities want to survive independent of corruption, it's that simple.
Corynski, very interesting read. Good to hear the perspective of someone who's used it for so long. How would you say it has helped with depression? I'm bipolar/asperger myself and i've always been wondering how it would work as an alternative to my meds. Everything is working very fine for me so i'm in no need to change things and i don't think Sweden will change any laws regarding this topic anytime soon. But my meds are very expensive for our country and they're not without side effects. I get skin problems and if i forget to take them, after only a couple of hours, i get a cold sweat, running nose, fever, nausea along with what i feel like my IQ cut in half. There's no wonder i'm open for alternatives.
Excellent documentary, it really covers the territory. I'm 78 and have used cannabis since 1960 when I was 23, about 56 years. I've used it for a variety of reasons, medicinally for Restless Leg Syndrome and as an antidepressant. I learned it would dry up a runny nose head cold and I could go to work instead of stay home. It allows dreamless sleep for those troubled with nightmares. I've checked my lungs over the years and nothing has showed up from smoking weed, but smoking cigarettes gave me sinus headaches and gastric reflux and hemorhoids until I finally quit them. Only recently is my health failing and I've slowed my working routine. I'm very 'middle class'.... solvent, home-owner, children, retirement pension..... truthfully marijuana can be many things, and there is a reason it has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Governments fear this plant for some reason, but I've yet to learn why...... especially considering it was used as a 'normal' medicine for years and was listed in the Medical References. It was as common as aspirin apparently before it was 'discovered' by the youth of America. What seems dangerous is the 'obsession' with marijuana and the use at young ages. But this is a subject I can hardly relate to, as growing up in the 1950's meant not even knowing what drugs were. We had no money and worked after school. We knew only of alcohol and what it did to our parents. It was an age of ignorance I guess, but today it's the opposite. Learn the rules..... there is harm in excess, and in arrogance, and in disrespect. I personally think cannabis can aid tremendously in learning, it does 'open' the mind, it permits new experiences and 'expands' consciousness, and it can allow one to experience increased empathy with others.... It certainly deserves some respect too.
I don't hear much about lung damage from weed but I can't help but see the similarity between the devices I used to use to get as much smoke as possible and hold it as long as possible and the medical devices I use now just to keep breathing. Just think about it
Stoned at school? i couldnt think of a worse enviroment.This is a strange kind of doco/newstory mostly full of teenage bravado.some of these kids may not grow up to be nobel peace price winners, but compared to teenages on alcohol its like chalk and cheese ie: there not fighting and killing each other,and others with cars/guns.Alcohol dependency is nothing like cannabis dependency.
Education about alcohol certainly hasn't worked very well. People are going to do what they are want to do no matter how much information is or isn't available.
I live in a legal recreational use state.
Weed (MJ) is just another weed. When I was an adolescent we smoked Johnson grass, another weed, with no lasting side effects. I've heard of others who smoked milkweed but isn't it a hallucinogen?