The Principles of Pot - Right and Wrong in the Movie Leaves of Grass
by Lynda Burne
International Oddities, the company that provided the "Leaves of Grass" for the movie has been branded with controversy and praise similar to the characters in the movie.
The modern college student has the concept that drugs are wrong drilled into his or her brain from day 1. Anti-drug public service announcements and educational programs attempt to solve the issue while competing messages from the media suggest that some substances, like marijuana, are harmless, possibly medically beneficial. While the mainstream sponsors the opinion that it is morally wrong to smoke pot, those in the marijuana industry live by a different standard of morals. This subject matter makes for good movies.
In the movie Leaves of Grass, a new film starring Edward Norton, estranged identical twins Bill and Brady Kincaid (both played by Norton) have taken very different paths in life. Bill is an Ivy League professor while Brady, equal to Bill in genius, remained in the twins' native Oklahoma to grow high quality hydroponic marijuana. With so much negativity and stigma attached to drugs, it is easy to assume that Brady is morally bankrupt. However, he does not lack a sense of right and wrong. It is just a different perspective on right and wrong which comes from the societal sub-climate to which he has been exposed.
Bill, the Ivy League professor, would be seen by the mainstream as the more morally responsible twin. He smoked pot when he was younger but no longer thinks it's the right thing to do. When a student comes on to him he rejects her advances, citing the existence of rules and lines that shouldn't be crossed. He is more conservative than his twin brother Brady in appearance, occupation, and opinion of marijuana. His black-and-white view of morality contrasts from Brady's situational one.
While many people believe that any activity that could land you in jail is morally wrong, Brady, who has been to prison before, continues to strive to grow the best weed possible despite the legal and corporeal risks. For him there is a benefit to growing and dealing weed that outweighs any possible moral regret he has for engaging in this activity. In the recently released trailer, Brady is shown explaining that he and those involved in his business don't deal crystal meth or cocaine. Rather than sell highly addictive, chemically derived stimulants, Brady deals exclusively in locally grown organic pot. (International Oddities provided the very realistic looking and legal pot style buds for the movie). Brady knows that the people who use his product won't become chemically addicted upon the first use. He knows that they will not overdose on this product. He is simply selling an ethereal experience.
It is ironic that the herbal bud seen in the film was provided by the exotic smoking company International Oddities. Ironic because they have made it their business to focus on the main stream production of legal smoking herbs to acclaim by smoking aficionados, but occasional disdain from short sited biases of society. Stigmas which could be said to reflect the split personalty of society itself. Not unlike the undercurrent of social commentary expressed in the movie.
As the plot thickens, the circumstances which reunite the twins reveal Brady's moral character. Bill returns to Oklahoma under the impression that he will bury his murdered brother who actually faked his death in order to lure his brother back to their rural hometown to help him take down a local drug lord (Richard Dreyfus). Brady's lies are also morally questionable. While society feels that lying is wrong, Brady's lie may potentially save his life and is told with the intention of creating a scheme to defeat an even bigger criminal. So who is right and who is wrong? You'll have to check out Leaves of Grass, a film that questions whether following the rules is always the right thing to do.