The empathy at the heart of “SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America” makes it a must-watch documentary

As someone who watches a ton of cannabis documentaries for a living, I came into “Smoke: Marijuana + Black America,” a new BET documentary focusing on the cultural, social, economic, and legal impact of cannabis in Black communities around America, with a certain degree of apprehension — was this going to be just another hollow documentary banking on the plight of Black people at the hands of cannabis?  While I was working, I got a Slack message from Weedmaps contributor Dante Jordan: “Hey, man. Watch the BET doc. I think you’ll appreciate it.” I found the link a publicist had sent me, started it, and my attention was immediately grabbed by the collar.  Narrated and executive produced by Nasir “Nas” Jones, “Smoke” premieres Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 8 p.m. PST on BET. The two-hour original documentary provides an intimate portrait of weed’s place in Black culture and its influence on some of the greatest artists, activists, athletes, and politicians in American history.  “Weed was in my music because it was in my world,” says Nas Jones early in the documentary. Former NFL star Ricky Williams says “One of the things that cannabis did is help me come to a kind of resolution to this inner conflict.”  It also explains how “America’s unjust War on Drugs systematically targeted marijuana use in the Black community, resulting in racially disproportionate numbers of arrests and convictions,” according to a press release.  While the cannabis industry is expected to grow exponentially as more states legalize adult-use and medical use, and federal cannabis legalization becomes an inevitably, projections expect the industry to generate $30 billion in sales by 2025. Much of cannabis’ popularity and acceptance comes from the art made by Black hip hop artists, comedians, and filmmakers, breaking down the stigmas of the counterculture movement…

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Source : The empathy at the heart of “SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America” makes it a must-watch documentary

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