Oliver Stone is plugging his new movie Savages, which features pot growers facing off against the Mexican drug cartels. What better plug for a movie like that, than the cover of High Times magazine.
Stone does an interview in which he criticizes the global drug war, America’s role in the cannabis trade, and his love for said traded commodity:
“Savages was a chance for me to get back into another side of myself, which is still anarchic and rebellious… Certainly if you appreciate California weed, which I have for many years, you’ll realize that we’re somewhat close to the money when we say that, California has surpassed Thailand, Jamaica, South Sudan, and certainly Mexico as the king and queen of quality weed. I’m thinking myself of getting into the business, although I suspect there’d be a lot of stress with the Feds changing the rules all the time. Those bastards.”
Oliver Stone recently tweeted an excerpt from his interview with High Times. Bet you didn’t know he was once caught smuggling Vietnamese grass from Mexico into America…
Oliver Stone: It’s a strange usage of the word “war,” because we were coming out of the Vietnam War and all of a sudden we were in the “war on drugs.” Johnson had used the phrase “war on poverty,” so I believe that was where the phrase came from. Seven or eight days after I got back from Vietnam in December ’68 I was busted at the Mexican border carrying some Vietnamese pot back to the U.S. I was facing Federal smuggling charges, a 5-20 year sentence. I was put in jail in San Diego County which had a capacity of 2,000, maybe 2,500, but had 5,000 kids inside—all young, most of them for drugs—and that was when I heard this term used. “There’s this new thing coming…” you know. “The war on drugs.” Because Nixon was coming into office in January ’69 and, sure enough, the guy kept pushing the moral majority and law and order. At that point, the country seemed to be on the cusp of liberalism, with the revolt against the Vietnam War, and the Nixon regime played into it, and was duplicitous in that regard, and then really cracked down. People started to go to jail heavy and the borders were starting to be looked at heavily, and pot became a dangerous “drug.” Then when Nixon got destabilized and was removed from office after Watergate, it felt again like there would be a new liberalism, but that was stunted by the failure of the Carter presidency.
You know, there was a great excitement at that time. I was at the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1976. It was the 200th anniversary of America and with Carter there was such a sense of liberation. I remember that feeling of anticipation, but it never happened. The country never went that way, it went back to its Cold War roots with Reagan, who cracked down on drugs, and everything was given to greed, privatization and to making money and to saying “no to drugs.” It became a full-scale war and has grown into what is today, essentially, close to a police state.
But the concept of meddling in other countries and cutting down on their illicit drugs became the next issue, after they realized they couldn’t contain our consumerism here. They went after the South American countries for cocaine and grass.