“Marijuana will likely be authorized some day,” comedy legend Lenny Bruce as soon as predicted, “as a result of the numerous legislation college students who now smoke pot will sometime develop into congressmen and legalize it with the intention to defend themselves.”

This YouTube collection is the primary nice post-prohibition stoner comedy.

A legendarily fearless performer, Bruce was famously arrested quite a few instances within the Nineteen Sixties for freely expressing himself on medicine, faith, politics, intercourse and different taboo matters of the day. He additionally wrote and self-published a satirical pamphlet known as The Pot Smokers that coolly mocked the period’s hype and hysteria round hashish.

As for his prediction of impending legalization, whereas it might have taken two generations longer than promised, it did come to go—a minimum of in a lot of the nation.

However whereas stoner humor has definitely developed since Lenny Bruce’s day, what Up in Smoke, Friday, Dazed and Confused, Harold and Kumar, Pineapple Categorical, Broad Metropolis, Excessive Upkeep and different touchstones of the style all share in frequent is prohibition.

Dope State is the primary nice post-prohibition stoner comedy.

And you may binge it without cost proper now on YouTube.

Roll one up and take a look at the trailer.

Years within the making

I first talked with Dope State creator Gabriel Sunday in 2015 when he contacted me as a part of his earliest analysis into the lifetime of a hashish journalist. I spent a pair hours with him on the telephone, sharing tales from my long term as a Excessive Occasions editor and extra lately as a columnist and video host/producer with VICE.

To be sincere, I kinda by no means anticipated to listen to from him once more.

For me, watching Dope State was like screening Spinal Faucet when you occurred to be a roadie for Led Zeppelin.

As an alternative, he’d pop up each few months with a brand new query about his character or some facet of weed tradition. I may inform that he actually wished to do his homework reasonably than depend on drained outdated tropes and stereotypes. However nothing ready me for the pleasure of watching a tough minimize of Dope State for the primary time.

I can solely describe the expertise as akin to screening Spinal Faucet when you occurred to be a roadie for Led Zeppelin or Greatest in Present when you’re a choose on the Westminster Kennel Membership. It’s not simply the standard of the humor, it’s the specificity of the characters and the dedication to creating them actual individuals in a surreal setting.


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To that finish, Sunday performs not simply intrepid reporter Tyler Gopnik but additionally most of the outlaws and entrepreneurs Gopnik encounters whereas internet hosting and producing a VICE-like guerrilla-style documentary (additionally known as Dope State) centered on the world of authorized weed in California.

In Episode One, he’s each Birdman—the ill-fated inventor of a THC-infused vitality drink known as Tree Jizz—and an over-the-top Instagram influencer often known as TazzyDabzs.

Rick & Morty vitality

Dope State is at its most insightful when profiling OG heads from the weed underground as they wrestle to discover a foothold within the new company hashish economic system.

In Episode 2, Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon just about nails it as Cooter, a longtime weed supplier who understands all too nicely that he’s being pushed out of the market by the predatory forces of late state capitalism.

“I’m a dinosaur, I do know that,” Cooter says. “I’m not struggling any illusions.”

Psychoactive spider tech

What makes Dope State so particular is that as a substitute of punching down at Cooter as a bearded, matted relic, we come to see that his critique rings true. After years of going through arrest and imprisonment for rising and promoting hashish, the brand new menace to “legacy operators” comes from all of the Silicon Valley buyers and Wall Avenue d-bags angling to money in on hashish now that it’s authorized.

Entourage star Adrian Grenier performs a tech titan cornering the market on nanotech hashish spiders.

Like tech titan Elon Shparker—performed with aplomb by Entourage star Adrian Grenier—who sees hashish as only one extra business to dominate, particularly by cornering the market on nanotech robotic spiders as a next-level cannabinoid supply system.

“My character is a tech innovator and a hashish tradition enterprise magnate bro promising to revolutionize the business, when actually he’s concocting a plan for world domination.” Grenier says. “Gabe’s characters and the world he constructed are wild however it really feels grounded to me. Sure, there are robotic weed spiders on this present, however I’ve met plenty of people within the hashish business and that’s not too removed from actuality. I’ve little doubt psychoactive spider tech is across the nook.”

Behind the redwood curtain

From begin to end, probably the most lovable characters in Dope State are those who come to it from a spot of real love for the plant. Top-of-the-line of them is Martin, an old-school hippie (once more performed by Sunday) who’s attempting to transition his unlicensed weed farm right into a legit “Bud and Breakfast” to maintain from going below.

Preventing company raiders by day and rippers out to steal his vegetation by night time, Martin and his spouse hope to discover a place for mom-and-pops like them amid all the posh manufacturers and company consolidation.

Shot on location at an actual Northern California hashish farm, we’re taken “behind the redwood curtain” and given a glimpse of the idyllic world of the Emerald Triangle, the place rising weed—with or with out a license—stays a lifestyle.

‘A love letter to California’s hashish tradition’

It is smart that Dope State roots so laborious for the underdogs.

You wouldn’t know by trying, however the six-part collection was shot on a shoestring. Sunday wrote, produced, directed and edited the collection himself, along with taking part in seven completely different roles.

Dope State is a labor of affection and likewise a love letter to California’s hashish tradition, which I grew up in and round.” Sunday says. “We shot independently all around the state, together with on actual weed farms, and at all times smoking actual weed with actual weed individuals. Everyone’s caught at house proper now, and all of us miss getting excessive with our pals, so I hope individuals will get a kick out of assembly these characters. We positively take some satirical jabs on the groundswell of pleasure across the ‘inexperienced rush,’ however it’s all performed out of affection.”

David Bienenstock's Bio Image

David Bienenstock

Veteran hashish journalist David Bienenstock is the writer of “How one can Smoke Pot (Correctly): A Intellectual Information to Getting Excessive” (2016 – Penguin/Random Home), and the co-host and co-creator of the podcast “Nice Moments in Weed Historical past with Abdullah and Bean.” Observe him on Twitter @pot_handbook.

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