Rolling Papers Documentary
Rolling Papers Documentary – In the age of the internet, print journalism has been suffering, with revenue, circulation, and employment all dropping to historic lows. And yet there are a few places in the country where newspapers and other print journalism are experiencing a kind of rebirth.
Those places are the spots where recreational cannabis has been legalized. Those following the business-end of legal marijuana know that the ending prohibition has led to an explosion of entrepreneurial enterprises and business opportunities, some of them previously unheard of.
Now, a new documentary about the Colorado “Green Rush” shows how legal weed saved the state’s largest newspaper, the Denver Post. Documentarian, Mitch Dickman produced the documentary titled Rolling Papers. Dickman was inspired by the Post’s newfound beat covering weed—”The Cannabist”—and decided to document the journalists documenting Colorado’s first year of legal recreational marijuana (2014).
Rolling Papers recounts the entire year of Colorado’s legal weed part, from Jan 1. 2014 to Dec. 31. The focus of the feature is the Denver Post’s newsroom, which appointed then pop music columnist Ricardo Baca the nation’s first marijuana editor at a major news organization.
It was the birth of cannabis into mainstream journalism, and Rolling Papers aims to show the public how it happened.
The documentary acknowledges how the newspaper industry was failing in Denver and still is, despite the surge in cannabis-related journalism. It “isn’t going to save the , but it’s a small step, and the right way to look at reinventing yourselves as journalists,” Dickman observes.
“I knew for sure that there would be a lot of people making films about or covering it in the media, so how interesting to cover it with the ones being the media itself,” Dickman explains.
The documentary has been met with mixed reviews. One critic described Rolling Papers as “tailor-made for viewers who inhale.” Viewers who don’t toke, by contrast, wouldn’t find as much to connect with in the documentary. The documentary aims to show how “Legalization is an experiment for society and a risk for the dying industry of newspapers to hedge its bets on a new one.”