I stopped getting high as a rule in the mid ’70s, partly because I’d begun to hate the sense of weird isolation I was feeling when fully ripped. Pot is not a social drug — it’s about having giggly fits about tickly notions that are mostly in your head alone. And then it’s about spiralling down through the looking glass and becoming a flying monkey. And then about succumbing to the munchies. It was also because pot opened the door to “the fear” — that mounting panic anxiety state that led to wild inconsolate hell and nerve-jangled insanity from which there could be no return. During a visit to Cinevegas in ’02 or ’03 I stupidly ate a super-potent pot brownie and got so ripped I had to down an entire fifth of Jack Daniels to keep the anxiety at bay. But I really loved my early experiences of getting seriously baked, and particularly that odd time-loss thing that would happen every so often. I would be riding in the backseat of a friend’s car and just leave the planet for places unknown, and then I would suddenly awake and be somewhere new…how did I get here? I could have been space-tripping for five minutes or five seconds — I couldn’t tell but I had left the realm. I’ll never forget that “whoa, what just happened?” feeling.

“Rolling Papers tells the story of Denver Post’s Ricardo Baca, a journalist who landed the first ever job as marijuana editor, and started ‘The Cannabist’ column. When the first legal marijuana stores opened in January 2014, Colorado got global media attention as not only the first place in America, but the first place in the world to constitutionalize the recreational use of the drug for adults 21 years of age. Smoking weed was finally as legit as drinking alcohol, and the newspaper jumped on the opportunity to cover the rapidly expanding culture of cannabis. Directed by Colorado native Mitch Dickman, the documentary struggles to remain relevant throughout its short run time, and wobbles between glorification and reflection until it completely tilts over.

“Part of the trouble is that it’s not sure about whether it tells Ricardo’s story or simply follows him around during the somewhat uneventful beginnings of ‘The Cannabist.’ For one thing, our insight into Ricardo begins and ends with his job, without as much as a crumb to point us towards some kind of understanding of the man behind the editor. Why does a ganja doc need to cozy up to a journalist? Because, contrary to what many people will most likely believe before stepping into the theatre, Rolling Papers isn’t really about marijuana. For all its swerves and swivels, the documentary ends up being about the novelty of pot journalism, with the emotional undercurrent generated by the volatile profession of journalism itself (rolling papers, get it?!)” — from Nikola Grozdanovic‘s Indiewire/Playlist review, posted on 3.16.15.