Review: The Union

By Jimmy Nguyễn Hoàng Duy

Documentaries usually have the ability to put viewers asleep in the blink of an eye, unless they’re made with a focus on entertaining over informing. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, has assembled the right ingredients to make a rare documentary that blends in-depth information with absorbing entertainment.

Locally filmed and produced in B.C., The Union reveals the complete “ecosystem” of marijuana, from the time cannabis products were used for medicinal purposes and a part of pharmacopeia, to the time it was legally recognized as medicine through court order. The film uses a simple storytelling technique to take viewers through to the main focus of why the cannabis plant is so widely-recognized and controversial—politics and censorship, and the economic cycle of supply and demand.

Not only does The Union paint a vivid time line of how cannabis was used throughout history, it also looks at fundamental reasons why it remains illegal, and how it became a threat to social structure. Out of this premise comes an assortment of myth-debunking bits, and the reality of why cannabis fails to win the favour of lawmakers and compete against other legally-sanctioned drugs like tobacco and alcohol.

To accompany Brett Harvey’s narration, the producers have summoned a fair share of prominent figures like Dr. Todd Mikuriya, Tommy Chong, and the host of Fear Factor Joe Rogan— who gets a double thumbs up for making sense of some of the facts and myths behind cannabinoid use.

Regardless of how frequent you use cannabis, or how aware you are of the subculture, The Union is guaranteed to be an eye-opener. Those who are not as familiar with “pot culture” and laws that surround it, will appreciate this film just as much as those who are. Tell your friends and family about this movie!