Tags: Marijuana Legalization | legalizing weed | marijuana | films | against

Legalizing Weed: 4 Films That Swayed Public Opinion Against Marijuana

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Oct 2015 07:04 PM

The criminalization of marijuana in the early part of the 20th century had some help from another nascent phenomenon: motion pictures, sometimes intentional propaganda, sometimes looking to cash in on the fear craze, but movies swayed public opinion against “the devil’s weed.”

Here are four films that fanned the flames of legalizing weed.


1. “High on the Range” (1929)

Amid the tale of the hero trying to keep the rancher’s pretty daughter from marrying the scoundrel is buried another tale of too much weed on the ranch, the effect of which the hero intends to sample for himself.

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“… a devilish narcotic; and if you smoke them, you go bughouse loco…,” said the silent movie’s title cards according to High Times, which says it might be the “funniest movie about marijuana ever made.”

2. “Reefer Madness” (1938)

This movie gave us both anti-marijuana hysteria and the name for it. Produced first as a cautionary tale for young people and their parents, the movie was originally called “Tell Your Children.”

It was repackaged by filmmaker Dwain Esper into what would later be called an “exploitation” film, according to a history written by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, authors of a musical “remake” of the film that opened in 2005.

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According to the IMDb, the movie goes like this: Drug dealers get young people hooked on marijuana. These formerly upright young people descend into hallucination, rape, and suicide. The story is framed by the cautionary words of a fictional school official speaking to a horrified fictional parents’ association meeting.

3. “Assassin of Youth” (1937)

This movie is about a high school girl who falls in with pot smokers and “starts down the road to ruin,” IMDb said. Meanwhile, a reporter poses as a soda jerk to infiltrate the gang.

It’s thought the title was taken from an article co-authored by U.S. Narcotics Commissioner H.F. Anslinger, in the 1930s.

4. “The Devil’s Harvest” (1942)

Marijuana sold from a hot dog stand across the street from the high school leads to a descending spiral of rivalry, betrayal, and death, including a sneering ex-con named Snuffy, according to Turner Classic Movies.

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The criminalization of marijuana in the early part of the 20th century had some help from another nascent phenomenon: motion pictures, sometimes intentional propaganda, sometimes looking to cash in on the fear craze, but movies swayed public opinion against “the devil’s weed.”
legalizing weed, marijuana, films, against
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2015-04-28
Wednesday, 28 Oct 2015 07:04 PM
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