Netflix just dropped the official trailer for Grass is Greener, a new documentary that takes a hard-hitting look at how weed—and the war against it—has indelibly shaped American music, culture and more. Directed and narrated by filmmaker and all around hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, Grass is Greener aims to educate audiences not just about the history of marijuana in America, but also how that history is impacting the push for legalization and the development of the cannabis industry today. The feature length documentary, Fab 5 Freddy’s directorial debut, will start streaming, as it should, on April 20.
Fab 5 Freddy Directs Doc Featuring Snoop Dogg, Chuck D, Killer Mike and More
Champions of marijuana legalization and advocates of drug policy and criminal justice reform do what they do because they know about the brutal and racist history of the war on drugs. Even everyday cannabis consumers, especially if they’ve lived under prohibition, likely have some sense of the vast inequalities created and perpetuated by drug law enforcement.
But as a massive legal industry emerges from the shadows of the underground trade, it’s important not to forget where it all came from. Legalization doesn’t erase or correct the wrongs of that history overnight. And to show that, Fab 5 Freddy’s Grass is Greener takes a look at the past, present and future of weed in America.
Grass is Greener Takes a Sober Look at Racism and Inequality
Grass is Greener isn’t a documentary about smoking weed and getting high—even though plenty of that happens on camera. Instead, it’s a film that confronts the inherent and structural racism of the still ongoing war on marijuana. Through interviews with criminal justice advocates and experts, the documentary tells the story of the devastating impact criminalizing marijuana has had on black and Latinx communities in the United States.
It’s a story that’s been told many times already. But Fab 5 Freddy finally fills out its larger cultural context, especially its influence on music. Featuring interviews with Snoop Dogg, B-Real and Sen Dog of Cypress Hill, Damian Marley, Chuck D, Doug E. Fresh, Killer Mike and other pop culture celebrities, Grass is Greener highlights the rich connections between cannabis and jazz and hip hop. As Fab 5 Freddy says in the doc’s official trailer, “the history of cannabis in America has long been tied to the history of music in America.”
But as cannabis goes mainstream, Fab 5 Freddy knows it’s easy to forget the past. Forgetting that history is a recipe for perpetuating inequality in the present. So Grass is Greener also delves into the rapidly expanding cannabis market, showing how racial disparities persist in the legal industry.
Grass is Greener Debuts 4/20 at the San Francisco International Film Festival
Cannabis is undeniably going mainstream. But that doesn’t mean the complicated story of marijuana in America is going with it. That’s why documentaries like Grass is Greener are important viewing, especially in a society recently and still unevenly emerging from an era of prohibition and still grappling with its legacy of racism and criminalization.
Grass is Greener is coming to Netflix on 4/20. It will also debut at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
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Author: Adam Drury