busted: america's war on marijuana
Press Reactions
from Daily News by Eric Mink

"...Using facts to sharpen the many points of dispute and giving advocates a fair chance to present their views, the hour-long report winds up brimming with the passions of elected officials, cops and drug agents, judges, academics, young kids and teenagers, convicted marijuana offenders and family members who have been affected by enforcement actions and policy decisions."

"...Which policies would best serve the public interest is an extraordinarily complex question. Busted should help advance the search for answers."

from The Atlanta Constitution by Lyle V. Harris

"FRONTLINE documentaries often take a point of view, but Busted is an exception, and it feels as if the producers were pulling punches on this one. Although it does an adequate job showing both sides of the pot debate, the underlying question--"should marijuana be legalized?"--is scarcely addressed here, and that's too bad.

But after the hysteria of "reefer madness" in the '50s and the "tune out, turn on" liberalism of the '60s, Busted will help conflicted '90s viewers cut through some of the smoke and mirrors.
Grade: B"

from New York Times by Walter Goodman

"The subject tomorrow night is marijuana: how easy to grow, how profitable to sell, how severe the punishment if you are caught growing or selling or even just using. The producers of Busted: America's War On Marijuana take no position on the debate over the laws that have filled prisons with people who have committed a nonviolent crime, but they do clear the air a little."

"...Glimpsed in this many-sided report is a division in Americans' attitudes toward marijuana, evidenced by the contrast between the law's stern approach and the much lighter treatment in popular culture. Meanwhile the famous war on marijuana goes on, costing the country at least $10 billion a year. Further inquiry is invited."

from Fort Lauderdale Sun--Sentinel by Tom Jicha

"Busted: America's War on Marijuana takes a different approach to the issue of pot. It deals only peripherally with the familiar arguments, pro and con over legalization and decriminalization. Instead the PBS documentary series focuses on the draconian penalties still on the books for a drug that some states wink at, pop culture laughs at and most users eventually grow out of. Moreover, it is a drug whose use, a government study recommended, should be treated like a traffic offense."

from San Francisco Chronicle by John Carman

"On FRONTLINE ...a doctor who's researched pot for 30 years goes on to say that it's a "powerful drug" and possibly a societal evil.

Still, FRONTLINE seems to wonder: Is growing pot a worse crime than murder?"

"...FRONTLINE finds veteran law enforcement officers who admit to doubts about equating marijuana with cocaine and heroin, and interviews a federal district judge, Thelton Henderson of San Francisco, who says the mandatory minimum sentences are "unduly harsh."

But if FRONTLINE lights up and takes a puff, it never exactly inhales. Henderson, who wishes judges had their old latitude back, is balanced by Senator Orrin Hatch, who harrumphs about "soft-on-crime judges" and a drug culture that's "wrecking our country."

from Boston Herald by Daniel M. Kimmel

"The show covers areas that may come as a surprise even to those who have been following the debate closely: it focuses not on marijuana use or the arguments over legalizations or decriminalization, but on Americans who are serving long jail terms because they've been growing the stuff themselves."

"...The show is even-handed to a fault, letting everyone have his say but refusing to argue that the "war on drugs" is a failure tantamount to Prohibition."

"...Those who favor legalization may be disappointed in the show's approach. [Producer] Mannes said that she was looking for a "third way" to approach the issue between the legalizers and the drug warriors."


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