Film Screening and Q&A—The Grass is Greener
How Racism and Inequality Are Influencing the Rise of Legalized Cannabis in the United StatesVoices
The Open Society Foundations Global Drug Policy Program and Open Society-U.S. presented a screening and discussion of the new Netflix film, The Grass is Greener. This documentary, directed by artist Fab 5 Freddy, traces the inextricable ties between cannabis criminalization and racial injustice in the United States, alongside stories about the influence of cannabis in black American musical culture. The film speaks to the painful and complex legacy of the war on drugs, and how it translates to today’s movement towards a legal cannabis industry.
Following the screening, a discussion with leading advocates and activists from around the world focused on the intersection of race and drug policies. The film served as a starting pointer a conversation about how prohibitionist policies have historically been used as tools to suppress and marginalize racial minorities and how that manifests in today’s society. The speakers also discussed how we can address these injustices what positive policy reforms could look like.
Kojo Koram is a writer and Lecturer at the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London, and is editor of The War on Drugs and the Global Colour Line (Pluto Press 2019).
Kassandra Frederique is the New York state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Jessica Souto is a filmmaker, human rights activist, and co-founder of Movimentos, a collective of young favela-based activists from Rio de Janeiro devoted to changing Brazilian drug policies.
Mame Bougouma Diene is a program officer with the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program.