Review:  ‘Rolling Papers’ documentary shares the high times of Colorado’s pot culture

A cannabist critic, Jake Browne, gets into the weed in a documentary on Colorado pot culture.

Call it “Potlight.”

Chronicling Ricardo Baca’s first year as the Denver Post’s inaugural marijuana editor, “Rolling Papers” takes an appropriately buzzworthy snapshot of Colorado’s legalized cannabis culture.

Baca, deemed the right man for the job thanks to a previous stint as the newspaper’s music critic, is shown taking his new beat seriously, creating “The Cannabist” website, which features reviews assessing the subtle differences between “Ghost Train Haze” and “Death Panda,” as well as recipes for edibles and even a pot and parenting column.

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While Baca’s gig proves to be pure gold for pundits (with Stephen Colbert quipping that it’s “a gateway job to meth editor”), he proceeds to break ground with investigative reports and alternative medical treatments, ultimately attracting the services of contributing columnist Whoopi Goldberg.

Naturally the milieu has its share of other colorful personalities, including Ry Prichard, a marijuana photographer and critic, who no longer takes his work home with him since he has a young daughter and child protective services isn’t as quick to roll with social change.

Generally leaving the weightier political stuff to others, Mitch Dickman’s lively documentary functions as both a handy pot primer and a telling portrait of the volatile, adapt-or-die climate that continues to hover over the newspaper industry.



‘Rolling Papers’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Royal, West L.A. Also on VOD