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The Union: The Business Behind Getting High


The debate surrounding marijuana grows more and more complex each and every day. Questions regarding legalization, decriminalization, prison sentence length (or fairness), health consequences, violence, public safety, and more have created a rift between a large portion of the public and policymakers. Filmmaker Adam Scorgie took it upon himself to find out exactly what the fuss is all about in The Union: The Business Behind Getting High.

Grade:

Scorgie begins by analyzing the roots of the marijuana conflict that is raging in the U.S. He looked into how marijuana, more specifically hemp, went from being one of the most used agricultural products to being considered an illegal substance. From there, Scorgie goes on a path through the arguments against marijuana, the pot industry, the war on drugs, the popularity in British Columbia, international affairs, prisons, etc. and ends back where he started with hemp production.

There is no doubting that The Union raises many compelling arguments in favor of marijuana and against the hostile attitudes many have for the drug. Yet, what makes The Union interesting is that we are given an insight into the viewpoint of dealers and growers, in addition to certified doctors and successful authors. Scorgie actually interviews former growers and discusses the ramifications of legalization versus decriminalization. We are introduced to the idea that dealers are as against legalization as authorities because their profit margin would be greatly diminished. This is the one key argument posed that is not typical of those fighting for the public opinion of marijuana to change.

The documentary moves seamlessly from topic to topic and stays at a fairly steady pace throughout. The main problem is that there are too many facets to the debate and Scorgie tries too much, resulting in a film that drags on longer than it should. After directly addressing the health concerns, war on drugs, violence, and the industry, Scorgie moves on to the increased budget for prisons and proceeds to pharmaceutical profits and their fight against medical marijuana. This is when we get a sense of how large the wingspan of influence for marijuana truly is, and precisely how difficult it would be to find a concise conclusion to the debate. Many of the topics covered could be documentaries on their own, let alone snippets of a larger, broader documentary.

No matter where you stand on the issue of marijuana, you will learn something from The Union, which is, I guess you could say, a sign of a successful documentary. The entire film is in support of marijuana and tries to show how nonsensical the opposing argument is, but what is really telling is how valid the data presented proves to be. Scorgie and his crew clearly did their research to the highest extent possible, which makes viewing The Union pretty enlightening.

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