I go through real phases in my Netflix binging habits but I haven’t been much in the mood for documentaries for a couple of years now, until I saw Rolling Papers on my feed. As a cannabis writer I think it’d be dumb if I didn’t at least give it a chance, and I’m glad that I did but for mixed reasons. The film, directed by Mitch Dickman and team, follow Richard Baca who was historically appointed as the world’s first cannabis newspaper director for the Denver Post in 2014. The Cannabist is now one of the leading sources on every aspect of cannabis that exists in the nation and this story shows the very beginning stages.
This monumental change in cannabis legislation created an entirely new aspect of journalism: pot journalism. So many aspects to reporting on this plant that weren’t kosher enough to mention in mainstream media are now not only free to report on but avidly read. The Cannabis drastically raised the readership of The Denver Post while other major papers were being shut down. They report on policy news, parenting, recipes, strain reviews and pretty much anything else that has to do with cannabis. All of the manufacturing, processing, edibles, grow etc. information that they show and give is nothing new to Californians and Arizonians, the art of cannabis remains the same despite legalization.
See, I haven’t been to Colorado yet. I know, blasphemous, a out and proud stoner hasn’t visited any recreational states. But hey guys, I want a lot of kids someday but I have to buy a house first. So I rarely go anywhere except into my imagination because $. But anyways, back to the point, It was refreshing to know that there wasn’t some magical secret to the industry in CO, that the difference was simply a freedom in the law. A minor freedom that is. The documentary touches on the utter confusion in the government as they attempt to create proper regulating laws with absolutely no data to rest them on. It also visits CPS multiple times in reference to their assault on legal cannabis users that are being persecuted. These issues need to be talked about because people are getting their kids taken away as lawmakers struggle to keep up. Kudos to shining a spotlight on these injustices.
I did have some issues with the film though, and maybe I’m being a big old butthead because I consider this plant medicinal and I consider myself a writer. First of all, why is their reviewer Jake smoking out of a pipe to review strains? That’s not real right? That is possibly the worst way to review a clean high and the actual taste that I have ever seen. Secondly, Colorado needs to stop calling it marijuana all the time. But I think I’m alone in this. I just so avidly believe that this is a medical plant and it’s hard for me to see it reduced to such a party drug. Recreational makes me so pleased because I’m no longer scared of cops for having my medicine but it also makes me sad because it’s somewhat overshadowing how healing cannabis can be. Cannabis not marijuana is close to my heart because marijuana is a word attached to a heavy stigma after many years of slander. So I guess I must accept recreational terminology etc. because with it comes freedom… sort of. And that’s where I’ll stop. This movie is worth a watch for anyone with interest in cannabis and/or cannabis journalism and I’d give it 3 out of 5 doobies for content. Watch the trailer below.