DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Studio: Phase 4 Films

    Directed by: Brett Harvey

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For decades, a debate has raged about the dangers of marijuana and whether they actually exist. “The Union” is a documentary that examines the growing marijuana trade in British Columbia, it’s effect on the international market and the truth behind the drug. Filmmakers interview everyone from growers to users in this examination of the business trade of pot, dubbed “The Union.”

No matter white side of the marijuana issue you find yourself, you have to concede that “The Union” is a well made documentary. In this day and age with Michael Moore warping the sense of real docuemntaries and making them over-the-top op-ed pieces, it’s nice to see a film that goes with the basic documentary structure. Sure, there is a definite opinion with “The Union” that comes through loud and clear, but the infotainment aspect of the genre is downplayed nicely.

“The Union” does make a compelling argument for the legalization and de-mystification of marijuana. i can’t say I necessarily agree with it, but it does point out the problems with the issue. Like other releases from Phase 4 Films, which distributes Canadaian-based films, this movie shows that there are plenty of problematic social issues with our neighbors to the north.

Before I issue my complaints with this film, I will be up front and honest. I do not believe that marijuana should be made legal for recreational use. I do not think it is a drug that comes without consequences. And I do not think it is harmless to society.

With that said, my problems with “The Union” stem from the overtly biased nature of the production. The movie paints marijuana as completely harmless at worst and a miracle drug at best. It makes wild claims that there are no addictive effects to marijuana (even though later the film talks about how many people just have to smoke the bud in the light of harsh criminal penalties) and that no one has ever died from marijuana (even though there are cases, including the much publicized peanut allergy death that was finally discovered to be due to inhilation of pot smoke).

“The Union” is also its own worst enemy, presenting hollow-eyed speaker Todd McCormick, Author of “How to Grow Medicinal Marijuana” stating proudly, “Even now, while this interview is being conducted. I smoked pot all morning. This is what I look like high.” And yes, he looks really, really, really high. The other big champion of smoking pot for recreational use is Joe Rogan, best known as the host of “Fear Factor,” saying, “The great quote that life is a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those who think. And if you are a thinker and you look at the marijuana situation, and you’re not laughing, you’re fucking dumb.”

“You’re fucking dumb.” Yeah, that’s a compelling argument.

Ever since college, I have found that people who want marijuana legalized has nothing to do with environmental issues, hemp as a product or even the suspect miracle cures for medicinal use. It’s because they want to smoke dope and get high on the weekends. And the folks highlighted in this film don’t change my opinion of that whatsoever.

The DVD comes with no special features.

Let’s be honest... potheads.

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