Generally favorable reviews - based on 5 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Tracking the behind-the-scenes efforts of both the pro- and anti-initiative groups, the film serves as a case study for other states in determining how to reform their own drug policies, and examines the civic, economic and human impact of marijuana legalization. Against the backdrop of the 40-year-old War on Drugs, the state of Washington becomes a key battleground in the fight for cannabis prohibition reform. A growing medical pot industry paves the way for cultural change, while an unprecedented team of political superstars and local celebrities put forth a plan, known as Initiative 502, that they hope will balance the delicate politics of the region and stand a chance to pass in the November elections. But many in the local cannabis community are vehemently opposed to I-502, saying it imposes harsh and scientifically arbitrary DUI laws, new taxes, additional restrictions and penalties that negatively impact youth, medical marijuana patients and providers. These unexpected opposing forces create a scintillating inside look at a political clash, showing just how advanced the perspective of many Americans has become on drug policy. [First Run Features] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Jun 19, 2014
    This dual focus on the need to end the ineffective, destructive “war on drugs” and broader questions of political compromise gives director Riley Morton’s film particular resonance.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Apr 7, 2014
    The absence of suspense results in something closer to a one-sided pat on the back for everyone involved, though it effectively puts forth a whole new set of challenges.
  3. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Apr 7, 2014
    The personalities and rhetoric are colorful and the film's presentation is lively, though some viewers will wish for a little more rigor.
  4. Reviewed by: Diana Clarke
    Jun 10, 2014
    Because the battle for legalization is still being fought in most other states, the lack of an up-to-date perspective is frustrating.
  5. Reviewed by: Andy Webster
    Jun 12, 2014
    This record of Washington State’s battle over Initiative 502, which legalized possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana in 2012, is predictably loaded with rancor. The battle isn’t over whether pot should be legalized, but to what extent.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. Oct 27, 2014
    This is a subject that is very important to me, as legalization of cannabis is a human rights issue, so I had a strong incentive to really like this film. I got less than 7 minutes into it and just had to turn it off.

    This is nothing more than opinionated whining and emotional content that will be instantly rejected by opponents of legalization. If I turned it off that quickly, what do you think opponents will do? For this reason alone, Evergreen does more harm than good because it appeals to only those who already agree with its premise, so why waste the time?

    Evergreen also unnecessarily starts beating the viewer over the head with politics right away, which is another mechanism for polarizing viewers into two groups: those who finish watching the film, and those who don't. I mean, this is a film about "How it was done in Washington," not "What we want," right? So why not just stick to that? With all that going for them, they should have written the film as "This is the recipe we followed to achieve these results."

    And make no mistake just because of my user name: I'm a staunch advocate of LGBT rights, banking reform, everything the ACLU stands for, etc. If this had been a film on gun rights but had been treated in the same fashion, I would have disgustedly turned it off after a few short minutes, too.

    If you want to see a great film on why we should legalize cannabis (admittedly not the focus of Evergreen), watch The Culture High, which also premiered this year. It is fact-based, it never whines, and you are left with a chill seeing all the under-the-table government dealings we never consider. It is the kind of film that could easily change people's minds.