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Review: Guns and Weed: The Road to Freedom

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Sometimes genius surfaces in strange places, and there is certainly an element of genius in the new movie Guns and Weed: The Road to Freedom. The film is not perfect and it’s certainly not the slickest production, but it’s one hell of a smart, informative and entertaining film.

It starts from a brilliant idea: looking at gun rights and the legalization of marijuana as two linked issues which between them expose many of the problems with our government and in our society from a libertarian perspective. By looking at one right which is constantly under threat and another which has been taken away arbitrarily, the film explores the broader issue of the ongoing diminishment of our civil liberties by intrusive government.

The film is basically a documentary composed mostly of interviews and discussion, but what makes it unique is that it comes with a sly sense of humor and a sense of fun which is much more appealing than the preachiness you’d expect on such a serious subject.

The film was made by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi. Dean is the writer and director. Vedadi is a featured performer and producer. Dean describes himself as a punk rock libertarian and is the former Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Wyoming. Vedadi is a weekend news anchor on ABC affiliate KEPR in Wyoming. Dean mainly appears playing backing guitar for Vedadi in some hilarious rap numbers. Iranian-American punk-rap is a musical genre I never really expected to see. Vedadi also plays a variety of roles in small skits and dramatizations in the film and he’s damned funny. Another asset to the film is a very pretty girl who fires a lot of guns while wearing a nice sun dress and does some excellent narration, credited as J-Tizzle. Also very effective were some of the medical marijuana users, especially a young couple afflicted with Krohn’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis who use marijuana to ease the pain and discomfort of their conditions. I also found some of the detailed insights into the mechanics of the medical marijuana business very interesting.

The most familiar of the interviewees is Sheriff Richard Mack who is very highly regarded in civil libertarian circles, but the less prominent participants, many of them local gun owners, marijuana entrepreneurs and civil libertarians from Wyoming and Colorado are articulate and make lots of good points. They give personal and substantive perspectives on issues like the medical value of marijuana, prisons overflowing with non-violent offenders, the whole milk ban, problems with the justice system, free speech, the Mexican drug cartels, abuse of government power, the failures of democracy and a web of other issues which all link surprisingly logically to the two core subjects.

There are a lot of libertarian films out there and most take themselves way too seriously and are no fun at all. Quite a few shade over into areas of fringe politics and radical rhetoric which make them threatening to a mainstream audience. One of the great accomplishments of Guns and Weed is that it doesn’t take that route. It’s approachable and relatively non-threatening and doesn’t get preachy. It manages to soften its very serious message with humor, music and engaging performances. It’s informative but it’s also enjoyable.

Perhaps best of all, the whole of Guns and Weed is on YouTube in a series of linked segments and you can watch it in an hour and a half. I recommend it to everyone, especially those who still think the War on Drugs is a good idea. It might be just the thing for some of my Republican friends who understand the right to bear arms but haven’t yet realized how interconnected all of our civil liberties are. Go watch it and help it go viral!

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About Dave Nalle

  • Leonard Krivitsky, MD

    In this society of ever-increasing stress levels, how can they possibly justify keeping the substance that promotes violence (alcohol) “legal”, while insisting that the substance that suppresses violence (Cannabis) should be kept “illegal”! Total absence of logic. Cannabis is not physically addictive as it has no documented physical withdrawal syndrome associated with its use; smoking Cannabis has been shown to have NO connection with increased risk of lung cancer, the so-called “gateway drug” theory is a non-existent entity altogether, and Marinol is a synthetic THC analogue, which is not at all the same thing as Medicinal Cannabis. As pointed out in the prestigious “Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook” that states clearly that “Cannabis use suppresses violent behavior and only the unsophisticated think otherwise”. Unfortunately, many lawmakers are still swayed by the DEA lies in all these respects, but one thing is clear: just like KGB before it, the DEA will not be able to defend its mindless “dogmas” by repression alone; sooner or later the American people will clearly see this nonsense, and they will not tolerate it indefinitely!

  • Clavos

    It does fuck up your memory, though…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    …moderation Clav, moderation…

    ;-)

  • Clavos

    I don’t do it anymore, Cindy — haven’t for more than 30 years, but when I did, it was way too often.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    When you consider that the main reason marijuana was criminalized in the first place was to give the Feds something to do after the end of Prohibition, the civil liberties angle becomes even sharper.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    To describe a country where there are 90 guns for every 100 individuals [far more than any other country in the world], where even most Democratic politicians are too cowed by the NRA’s draconian tactics to suggest new gun laws — to describe that country as one where gun rights are “continually under attack” is just more tunnel-vision nonsense.

    Jared Loughner went to a sporting goods store and came out with an extra-capacity clip allowing him to shoot 31 rounds without reloading. Would attempts to limit the availability of such clips really tear at the fabric of liberty? Does any law-abiding citizen actually need an extra-capacity Glock semi-automatic for any reasonable purpose?

  • Clavos

    handy,

    It’s all well and good to speak of limiting guns and/or their accesories such as oversize clips, but there is one big flaw in that idea.

    In our history we’ve NEVER been able to keep prohibited items out of the hands of those who want them. Commodities such as liquor (in its day) and drugs have been and are barely harder obtain than milk.

    To add to the irony, one of our most respected, patrician political families, the Kennedy family, made its initial fortune purveying illegal liquor during prohibition.

    A far better way to curtail (if not eliminate) the occurrence of incidents like last Saturday would be to pass and ENFORCE draconian penalties for the commission of crimes with the use of firearms.

    Yes, I know we already have some laws on the books which escalate penalties for crimes committed with weapons, but they are somewhat arbitrarily applied and the penalties are not severe enough.

    For crime to be successfully controlled to a minimum, wannabe criminals must be deterred by the CERTAINTY of being SEVERELY punished.

    Nothing short of that works — we know that already.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Even certain punishment didn’t affect the behavior of this particular psychotic freak. No reasonable person would expect to escape such a crime scene, or to ever leave prison once they were arrested. Punishment is about as certain as it could possibly be for Mr. Loughner.

    And the fact that he could so easily buy an extended clip, like buying a baseball glove, is disturbing.

  • Boeke

    Neither do “…draconian penalties” or the “…CERTAINTY of being SEVERELY punished.” That’s just a pipe dream.

    I don’t necessarily like it, but denying the right to make weapons in excess of that required for a militia, by which I mean a militia such as Switzerland or Israel have for augmenting troops in case of national emergency.

    Besides that I object to putting even more people in our expensive and overcrowded prisons. They already have too many pot smokers, and it hasn’t even ‘deterred’ pot smoking.

  • Clavos

    Neither do “…draconian penalties” or the “…CERTAINTY of being SEVERELY punished.” That’s just a pipe dream.

    Perhaps. But the belief that we actually can successfully prohibit anything in modern society is debunked by the ease with which one can buy drugs everywhere.

    Guns will be no different.

    And there are, according to law enforcement experts, some 300 million weapons already in circulation. Are you really so naive as to believe that those in the hands of crooks will be turned in? Or those in the hands of NRA members? Or those in the hands of people who despise the government? Terrorists? Foreign agents? And yes, trip wire vets and other nut cases?

  • Boeke

    Citation

    [Edited. Boeke, a simple citation would have done, rather than copying and pasting the entire web page, which raises copyright issues apart from anything else.

    Dr Dreadful
    Assistant Comments Editor]

  • Cannonshop

    Oh, you can POSSIBLY do it, but you have to accept the costs of doing it-an overt Police-state with extensive surveillance and suppression of dissent might be able to accomplish it-at least, for a short time-and hell, we’re almost there already with the current combination of “War on Drugs” and PATRIOT ACT.

    Just a few more incremental steps, and we’re there, banning thought-crimes and speaking Newspeak and do what you’re told, eat your vegetables, this is your bed-time, don’t eat that eat this…

    A left-wing paradise is just around the corner where Nanny Government will take over for your parents-forever, you never never never have to grow up, risk making bad decisions, or take the consequences of those decisions.

    We’re almost there…

  • Boeke

    (Note: I deleted many of the examples and abbreviated the rest because the moderator complained of the bulk. Read the original citation and see if you aren’t horrified by the belligerant murderous attitude.)

    Recent Murder and its Rightist Inspiration

    [Boeke, I understand that you feel strongly about this, but once again you have copied-and-pasted a massive document when a simple comment on and link to the page in question would have done. I’m confident that the average BC Politics participant is intelligent enough to click on a link and read what’s there, and then find their way back to this page. Re-posting the whole thing here, therefore, is an exercise in futility and, as I said before, a possible copyright infringement.

    I won’t tell you again.

    Thanks,
    Dr Dreadful
    Assistant Comments Editor]

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Boeke, I’ve seen that same list of unrelated and cherry picked examples on the Brady Campaign website.

    Do you understand that this sort of list is nothing but propaganda presenting one side of the issue and no other?

    CAGV is an organization dedicated to silencing dissent, disarming the populace and increasing the power of government over our lives. They pander to your fears to get you to give up your rights. Why would you want their perspective to gain wider exposure. They’re enemies of the people.

    Dave

  • Ball

    The comments on this post prove how needed this documentary is.

    Watch it!

  • Paul Bonneau

    Michael and Neema did a great job! Thanks, guys. They have podcasts too; just google “freedom feens”.