‘The Culture High’ is somewhere between a cliff notes for marijuana legalization and a foreshadowing pro-weed advertisement. This is not a bad mix, and it provides more than enough fodder for a great documentary.
The improbably serious and educational film clocks in at around two hours as it covers topics like the drug war, the privatization of prisons, prescription drugs, and the legalization battle. For most of the film specialists take the mic and illustrate the film’s position, though every once in awhile Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and B-Real pop in to add a little more personality.
The addition of several personal stories and experiences give the movie a layer of depth missing from many documentaries. It is easy to villainize the marijuana movement when it portrayed as faceless, but ‘The Culture High’ seeks to put familiar and relatable faces behind it.
For all intents and purposes the film uses standard documentary techniques. Well-edited clips and narration create an ordered narrative that chugs along at a decent enough pace.
Two hours can be a bit long for a documentary, but ‘The Culture High’ has a lot of material to cover and it manages to do so without feeling monotonous. This is an unashamedly pro-marijuana documentary with a weak optimistic streak running through it. While at times it paints the picture as bleak it does consistently seem to think that legalization is a question of when not if.
Individuals who want to know more about the history of the drug war and the ongoing battle for marijuana legalization would do well to start with ‘The Culture High.’ It is a well-crafted and near encyclopedic examination of the subject, featuring a great mix of specialists, experts, and celebrities.
In theaters and VOD Friday, October 17.