In recent years, the legalization of marijuana aka cannabis has been a topic of discussion nationwide. Political pundits/critics argue that the plant induces crazy, erratic behavior which incites violence. But, did you ever wonder why and how cannabis became illegal in the first place.
According to Executive Producer/Director, Fab 5 Freddy aka Freddie Braithwaite and others like Asha Bandele, Snoop Dogg and members of Cypress Hill to name a few, comment regarding the systemic oppression towards people of color (not limited to African-Americans) and musicians ranging from Jazz to Reggae to Hip Hop and how it’s closely connected with the history of music in America through marijuana.
I recall my introduction to Fats Waller’s 1943 hit “Viper’s Drag” featured in the hit Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’…
“I dreamed about a reefer five feet long.
A might immense, but too to.
You’ll be high, but not for long…. if you’re. a viper.”
Other tunes like Reefer Man (1933- Cab Calloway), All the Jive is Gone (1936- Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy Orchestra), Knocking Myself Out (1941- Lil’ Green), Save The Roach For Me (1944- Buck Washington) celebrated the chilled out euphoria cannabis graciously obliges towards the channels of musical creativity across genres.
Jive, Bud, Apple, bou, Hemp, Christmas Tree, Herb, Mary Jane and Pot are just a few of the euphemisms used for this healthy plant, but government officials ranging from former Head of the Bureau of Narcotics – Harry Anslinger to our current administration purposely use fear based political propaganda to suppress the rights of Blacks and Mexicans, instead of acknowledging reality based facts revealed repeatedly through items like The Shafer Report. Snoop Dogg makes a great and perfect point when he states the differences of human behavior between those who consume alcohol and those who ingest marijuana. It’s a known fact that NO ONE has ever lost a life after getting “high” from a joint.
However, when Black Lives like Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castille, Michael Brown and Botham Jean met their demise at the hands of police or while in police custody, media reports insinuated that their behavior was exacerbated by levels of THC (weed) in their system. A myth further perpetuated by the belief that smoking weed makes people crazy, attack others or harm themselves, ultimately led to the acquittal of George Zimmerman after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
Not one time, did any of these reports investigate nor illuminate the fact what was reported was mythical or the fact that this herb is used globally for medicinal reasons for such conditions like stress, cancer, glaucoma, asthma, tuberculosis, to name a few.
At best, Grass is Greener, just like Ava Duvernay’s “13” sheds the light on a bigger picture – mass incarceration in America.
In 2018, American states earned 1.4 billion in tax revenue from the sales of legal cannabis, yet over 600,000 people were arrested for cannabis possession. Guess how many of them weren’t black people?
Well, you’ll have the chance to grab the answers to that and so much more when Grass is Greener begins streaming on Netflix April 20