Review: ‘Legend of 420' documents marijuana’s rise to legitimacy and may leave you with the munchies

Cannabis plants in the documentary "The Legend of 420."
( Head Gear Films)

Weed, pot, marijuana, mary jane, ganja, the devil’s lettuce, cannabis — whatever you call it, the wacky tobbacky’s come a long way from “Reefer Madness,” blooming into a massive industry and legitimate cultural phenomenon. The documentary “The Legend of 420” chronicles the current landscape of cannabis, from its medicinal uses to art to fine dining and beyond.

Directed by Peter Spirer, “The Legend of 420” has an enthusiastic, shaggy-dog sensibility, touting the many wonderful uses and benefits of cannabis, while occasionally touching down on the historically harsh, often racist enforcement of drug laws in the U.S., and the potential pitfalls for the federal legalization of recreational marijuana to be found in the Trump administration.

It’s a bit like having a conversation with a stoner: excited if a bit unfocused. Every now and then it unearths a profound and interesting gem, such as the ways in which cannabis can assist opioid addicts, or that the drug laws in liberal states have been bankrolled by wealthy potheads, but then it skitters off to another topic. The film is loosely strung together by a series of marijuana-themed stand-up comedy sets, as well as the journey of a dreadlocked delivery dude making a run from Humboldt to Los Angeles.

“The Legend of 420” captures a zeitgeist, but with so many facets to explore in this survey of contemporary American marijuana culture, it only scratches the surface.



‘The Legend of 420’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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