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Evergreen: The Road to Legalization    cover photo

Evergreen: The Road to Legalization 2014

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Distributed by First Run Features, 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1213, New York, NY 10036; 212-243-0600
Produced by Produced by Hemlock Productions
Directed by Directed by Riley Morton
DVD , color, 88 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers

Date Entered: 01/22/2015

ALA Notable:
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Michael J. Coffta, Business Librarian, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Should recreational use of marijuana become legal? This well balanced film exhibits the series of events in Washington in 2012, in which state legislators raised this issue in Initiative 502. Proponents of the initiative outlined the economic benefits, citing the diminishment of related law enforcement, the states’ revenues being used to fund programs to reduce underage use, and the prevailing use of marijuana. Opponents forecast that the economic costs of healthcare expenses, etc. can exceed those of alcohol abuse in the United States.

An exceptionally interesting aspect of the deliberation over Initiative 502 are the supporters of marijuana legalization who opposed Initiative 502. There were businesspeople who opposed the initiative’s regulation of cannabis commerce, but even more vocal were those who thought that the provisions, particularly as they pertained to a driver’s impairment, were unacceptable and contrary to the spirit of true legalization. As such, the film carefully dissects the components of the initiative, and compares them to counterpart legislation in Colorado.

Whether one supports or opposes legalization of marijuana, Evergreen conscientiously investigates the full range of issues associated with the issue. Furthermore, it emphasizes that one must not base support for a piece of legislation simply upon a reflex reaction to a term such as “legalization.” It reinforces the citizen’s responsibility to scrutinize a proposal, piece by piece. Lastly, the film offers an excellent analysis of potential federal intervention on the legalization issue, vis a vis states’ rights.

This is a brilliant work that provides fair-minded representation of proponents and opponents. It illustrates the evolution, decision-making processes, personal stakes, ethical considerations, and oft-neglected aspects of this topic. It offers a great look into the political process involved with a social movement.