by Paul Bowers
Want to see a documentary about marijuana legalization in a Charleston movie theater? You'll have to buy tickets in advance.
Local activist Ashley Condon is trying to bring a screening of The Culture High, a new documentary about marijuana prohibition, to the Terrace Theater on James Island (1956 D Maybank Highway) on Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. But in order to screen the film, he has to pre-sell 108 tickets in the next 21 days. Tickets are $12 and can be reserved with a credit card by clicking here. Your card will not be charged unless Condon reaches his goal.
The documentary comes from the makers of the award-winning Canadian documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, which partly focused on the illegal trafficking of cannabis. The Culture High focuses on present-day debates over marijuana legalization and features weed-friendly celebrities including Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic Airways. It's kind of obvious which side the directors are coming from, but Condon says he thinks the documentary has something for people on both sides of the issue.
"Whether you like it or not, it's coming," Condon says. "So we're hoping that for once South Carolina can be a little proactive instead of reactive."
South Carolina is still a long way off from Colorado and Washington, which have legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use, but this year's legislative session saw a few small victories for the legalization camp. Gov. Nikki Haley signed one bill into law that legalized the growth of industrial hemp and another that allowed doctors to prescribe cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy (although some sources are reporting that families still can't get the oil due to federal laws that prohibit its shipment across state lines).
Condon says he hopes the documentary will re-open discussion about marijuana legalization issues before state lawmakers return for their next session in January.
"There's a lot of people scared to talk about it because they don't want to be outed as consumers or growers or buyers," Condon says. "But nothing will change until we sit down and have a serious discussion about it."