Cartoon about prohibition: The Flower

"The Flower" is a modern day version of The Sunshine Makers, with a sad ending.


  1. So, if this video is to be believed, life was wonderful and there was no crime or unhappiness prior to 1619 when marijuana was first made illegal?

    I’m in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, but this video was dumb.

    1. Anon: I’m pretty sure the 1619 Jamestown Colony law was a law REQUIRING folks to grow marijuana not one making it illegal.

  2. Sigh. I’m all for legalization, but… the moral of this movie seems to be “industrial capitalism never hurt anyone.” The smiling happy industrial monoculture was just too much for me.

  3. A couple of things bothered me…
    * The flowers look more like opium poppies than marijuana leaves. Opium never hurt anyone?
    * When someone lights up a joint, it doesn’t smell like daisies. I’ve smelled daisies. They don’t make me want to throw up.

    I understand that these are tangential issues but when you use fantasy to dress up fact, it becomes propaganda. I think legalization could be a good thing, but this is propaganda, and sends the message that people who need convincing are simple minded.

    1. The people who need convincing ARE simple-minded.

      They’re the same people who believe that cannabis causes mental problems and crime. They’re the same people who have a suit walk about, waving his arms in an animated way and shouting “It’s for the children! THE CHILDREN!!!”

      Combat fire with fire, dontcha know.

      GeekMan – Oxygen causes harm when overused. What’s your point?
      So does coffee. And alcohol. And Vicodin.
      And apparently komboucha, according to my state.

        1. My point, of course, being that there are people on both sides (and the middle!) who have well-thought reasons for and against prohibition. And I fully support both sides.

          But, we both know that this isn’t the majority of Americans. Or even the ones who count. Most American citizens are reactionary dullards who were carefully molded by Ye Olde Public Schoole Systemme and listen very well to what their teachers say.

          No need to be snide.

          soongtype – Great point. I would also like to point out, before you get the obligatory “you’re irresponsible for driving high” comments, that people would probably crap themselves if they knew how intoxicated (with legal substances prescribed by doctors) their fellow motorists are.

          Gutierrez – Thank you. I fully agree with your assessment of the hurdles we face with decriminalization/regulation/legalization/whathaveyou.

          What is so excellent about the current movement in the medical-marijuana industry is that we are getting to figure this out in REAL LIFE (emphasis for my excitement, not shouting) rather than in a theoretical way. In fact, just recently there was a push for corporatization of supply for the dispensaries in California. What is more American than the struggle of a small business with a corporate giant?

          There’s a fantastic book called Drug Crazy by Mike Gray that outlines many of the problems being faced, and the solutions that have already been found in real-world scenarios. Highly recommended reading.

          1. “But, we both know that this isn’t the majority of Americans. Or even the ones who count. Most American citizens are reactionary dullards who were carefully molded by Ye Olde Public Schoole Systemme and listen very well to what their teachers say.

            No need to be snide.”

            Was that intended to be sarcastic? Because as far as I can tell, you just said that the majority of Americans are stupid and that most of them don’t count….and then proceeded to chide someone for being snide?

          2. No, I said the intelligent ones don’t count. Can you explain 8 years of Dubbya any other way? We have seriously misunderestimated our fellow Americans.

          3. Yes, I can explain 8 years of Dubbya several other ways. One, FEAR. Two, a significant lack of Democratic backbone and opposition. When people aren’t voting for you, they’re voting against your opponent…not so great.

            And then there’s the other answers, like: some people honestly though GWB would make a good president. That didn’t make them dumb. Some people voted on specific policies…policies in which they and I probably RADICALLY disagree. But having dramatically different politics does not make them stupid.

            It’s those kinds of divisive politics and elitism that are at the root of many of the problems that America currently faces. It’s easy to assume that people that don’t agree with you are just stupid and wrong. It’s hard to find a common ground or to understand WHY they feel that way. And it’s an argument worth having.

          4. I suspect you are trolling me, but on the off-chance that you believe what you say, and the off-chance that you are open to changing your mind, I will reply. I guess that makes me stupid.

            I haven’t met the majority of Americans, so I can’t comment on their thoughts and opinions. But what do you think sets you apart from your “fellow Americans”? What sets you apart from a heterogeneous group of people with differing, sometimes faulty viewpoints? Is it because your viewpoints happen to be correct?

      1. The point is substances that can be abused tend to be regulated, in production, transport, handling and consumption. Oxygen requires warnings for explosiveness and flammability and placement and usage have to be controlled (whether by the institution using it or an outside source.) Vicodin is prescribed. Alcohol begets safe driving laws. Komboucha can harbor unsafe bacteria if improperly prepared.

        Who gets the taxes? Who gets the prescriptions? Should it even be by prescription? If it causes people to be unsafe behind the wheel, how do we deal with that? Will there be consumption limits? Who grows it? What varieties? What safety standards are affected to protect consumers from unscrupulous producers? Is home grown fine? How much? What ages should it be restricted to?

        I’m not stating my opinion on whether or not legalization is a good idea. I have two speeds on substance comatose and violent, so i’ll stick to my teas and go swiss on the argument. But all these questions are going to held on to by some group or another even when we surpass the “ZOMG! Evil!” knee-jerk majority and get onto meaningful discussion. It doesn’t mean don’t try to push or push back, it just means there’s tremendous inertia either way so prepare to deal with it.

      2. “The people who need convincing ARE simple-minded.”

        If you start a debate by presuming that people don’t agree with your point of view because they are inherently stupid, there’s no point in wasting energy trying to have a rational conversation with you.

        1. I’m sorry, you seem to have misunderstood me. Some clarification is needed as I seem to have been a bit muddled in my expression.

          As I pointed out in my last comment, I’m not talking about people who have well-formed reasons for wanting one or the other.
          Many of my family and friends are pro-prohibition, but have completely understandable reasons for feeling that way. I support that, and I never push the issue.

          The “people” I’m referring to are the knee-jerk reactionaries who are easily swayed by scare tactics. I guess I should have clarified…

          It’s not my place, or desire, to convince people based on my convictions. I just desire rationality.

          1. Thank you for the clarification.

            And I would like to point out that the negative reactions this video generated early on are not necessarily due to our opinions on MJ, but because some of us don’t like being fed one-sided propaganda pieces masquerading as art/entertainment.

            The video paints MJ as this magic cure-all with no ill effects, which it explicitly contrasts to the evils of alcohol and caffeine. This is why I felt the need to point out that every drug has downsides.

            If we’re going have a discussion about the legalization of marijuana (which American society indeed should), we need to address all the issues that Gutierrez brought up. Misrepresenting MJ as perfect and flawless while casting its detractors as black-clad fascist oppressors (as in the video) does very little to further reasonable debate, and instead reinforces partisan polarization.

            That’s my beef.

  4. It’s not at all like “The Sunshine Makers” (TSM).

    I agree with AgentOracle’s comment from youtube.

    “It must be very sick of me, but I’m drawing parallels between this and… well.. between this and modern war…

    Starts with a cheap shot, it’s met with a retaliation, ten escalates into a shooting war where the sad folks are hopelessly outclassed. The happy people end up bombing them, drugging them, and converting them (with a healthy radioactive glow).


  5. As someone who used to drink, smoke cigarettes and pot, plus a variety of other miscellany substances- this video really is simply well put together pro-pot propaganda.

    The video shows none of the upsides to cigarettes, coffee, or alcohol, which it implies as being something worse, and a side effect of not having legal pot. All of those things have addictive properties and have their own down sides, but claiming them to be worse than pot is truly the pot calling the kettle black.

    Pot also only gets positive in the video. When I smoked pot, my driving abilities were just as bad as if I had been driving drunk. I’ve got lots of field experience on this topic, my apologies to all of the people I almost murdered through my irresponsibility. Pot consumption also seems to lea to a life of nothing. Everyone knows tht one guy or girl who smokes a bit of pot on the weekend and is a lawyer or a doctor and loves this person’s example, but I know for myself I spent a lot of time forgetting about all my friends who did nothing but work at the gas station to pay rent and buy pot.

    Thumbs up to the styling of the video and the conveyence of ideas without the use of words (aside from a bit of print), thumbs down to propoganda.

    1. I’ve never found any problem driving high, nor have I ever witnessed anyone having a problem doing it. To me it’s the same as driving, only I’m more patient. I don’t mind waiting at lights as much, even if they’re long. I don’t feel any need to rush to my destination. It is completely ridiculous to equate it with driving drunk.

      While smelling flowers to get high would be awesome, vaporizing is the way of the future for weed consumption. Vaporizers don’t damage the lungs, don’t release any smoke, don’t produce any smells, and don’t cause disorienting effects caused by smoke inhalation.

      1. Well I think what we have here is a strong case for a series of controlled experiments using driving simulators and of course a whole bunch of pot.

  6. Good thing it ended with the legend “It’s time to end marijuana prohibition.” Up until that point I thought this was about soil erosion.

  7. Boo. If the sad ending that Mark referred to is the heavy-handed pro-pot message at the end, then yes: this film had a sad ending.

    Marijuana has downsides and can cause harm when overused, just like any other drug. If you want to discuss ending pot prohibition, OK: but let’s be realistic about the issues at hand instead of washing everything over in pretty colours.

  8. @ stevenski • #4:

    “Pot consumption also seems to lea to a life of nothing”. Are you aware that a lot of historical figures (artists, politicians, scientists…) did smoke it? Take for instance Carl Sagan. Do you think he led a life of “nothing”?

    Also, how irresponsible can you be to smoke pot and drive?

    It seems from your post, you have an addictive personality. You don’t seem to enjoy things in moderation. Don’t blame pot (or alcohol or whatever) for your inability to control yourself. Do some inner house cleaning.

  9. I really enjoyed the cartoon although I would have liked it even more without the ending text.

    I thought it was a beautifully made, thought provoking condemnation of prohibition… right up until the makers linked the message to the prohibition of one specific thing. That sort of disemboweled the entire argument for me, not least because the introduction of the text after the more stylized material seemed jarring and heavy-handed.

    Thanks, Mark!

  10. Yup, all those horrible effects of Marijuana can be so wide spread, like….
    oh yeah, must be all those deaths per year…..


  11. It has to be said that there’s no known LD50. That’s not true of almost any other substance.

    I get paranoid and intensely introverted, but what the hell. It’s one of the safest substances known. Especially given how psychoactive it is.

  12. Thank you Mark for the video, I found it got its message across quite well, and I was indeed sad at the ending…though it was sadly accurate.

    But what I find even more depressing are most of the comments in here; I really thought most Boing Boingers were more enlightened than this. Anyone who supports marijuana prohibition is indeed ignorant and no friend of freedom/personal liberty.

    People going off about “well, I’m not necessarily against pot legalization, but pots harmful aspects have been completely ignored in this video” or some variation thereof. People…really?! Unfortunately it seems our governments own propoganda has been tragically quite effective.

    Pot is literally one of the most harmless, while at the same time also one of the most beneficial substances there is. It’s literally safer than fucking aspirin!

    I have no quarrel with people who enjoy nicotine, alcohol or caffeine, but they are not my thing. Nicotine doesn’t do anything for me, alcohol gives me an instant headache and makes me sick (it IS a poison, after all), and caffeine causes my heart to race and exascerbates my anxiety problems.

    I suffer from severe anxiety and depression, marijuana allows me to actually be able to relax and enjoy something and forget for a little while how fucking miserable I usually feel, even though yes, I do take “big pharmas’ medications for it. They are only marginally effective and have real negative side effects, such as nausea from the Abilify I am now taking to try to reduce my depression.

    I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make this about me, but about the ridiculousness of prohibition and the idiocy and wrong headedness of anyone who would support it.

    Negative side effects of marijuana?! What exactly would those be? Oh yeah, you might get psychologically addicted to it and become a slacker who never does anything. Got it. I’d be happy to have a debate with anyone who wants to compare the “negative side effects” of marijuana versus alcohol or tobacco. But anyone who thinks they are even *comparable* in regards to harm done to society and to individuals seriously needs to educate themselves.

    The REAL harm done to society and individuals comes from the millions of lives destroyed by prohibition. I will be saving this wonderful video and spreading it around wherever I can.

  13. seeing the graph of the tax revenue bottoming out and then magically showing a prison confused me a bit. I guess that was a privately (no tax) funded prison?

    1. seeing the graph of the tax revenue bottoming out and then magically showing a prison confused me a bit. I guess that was a privately (no tax) funded prison?

      Yeah, it’s pretty crazy to imagine a real-life scenario where the government would spend money building prisons for non-violent offenders at the same time they were running massive budget deficits.

  14. There are some interesting, and unfortunately naive, or misguided, comments for this video.

    To the commenter who said they were just as impaired driving while high as they were while drunk, I have to believe that you are either outright lying or have had a very strange experience with marijuana and alcohol. Marijuana certainly does slow your response time but it does not impair your equilibrium as alcohol does, which is far worse, but alcohol also slows your response time, and to a much higher degree.

    And yes, it is a fact that cigarettes are far far more harmful to the human body than marijuana. Even if one were to smoke tobacco alone it can still cause cancer along with many other serious health issues.

    Though I do completely agree that marijuana can lead to strong apathy. I know someone who smokes every day and only just recently realized he was wasting his life. Being a fairly regular smoker I feel this comes from the fact that marijuana makes you happy, or content. If you smoke every day to make yourself happy then you are happy no matter the situation your in, which can mean you have no reason to change it. These people are addicted to marijuana. I believe that is the most dangerous aspect of smoking marijuana.
    Of course that pales in comparison to the effects of an addiction to alcohol.

    And to those who are bothered by the fact that it’s propaganda. Really? Are you surprised by this fact? Of course it’s propaganda, it’s a video made by people who are clearly on one side of the argument. If it were a documentary then perhaps some objectivity could be expected but this is a short film cartoon.
    And that’s beside the fact that purely objective views, arguments, or information in general is not common in any way, in fact it’s few and far between.

    There are a myriad of arguments to end prohibition with but few reason to continue it. I believe that it is one of the least harmful “drugs” one can indulge in or medicate with.

    1. There are reasons for marijuana prohibition – but there are no good reasons.

      Prohibition makes what is not a crime into a crime , to quote Abraham Lincoln.

      Liberty cannot survive it. And it hasn’t.
      More prisoners in the USA than ever, you say?

      And now, from a time when marijuana was legal in the USA, and the American Army had all of 88 machine-guns in its arsenal:

      I guess that in 1937 they needed something for all those G-Men to do, after the alcohol was permitted to flow again.
      A make-work project for cops and the money-for-nothing drug dealers.

  15. Propaganda is not in and of itself a bad thing.

    The problems arise when it is used in place of a conversation, instead of to start one.

  16. What worries me most in legalization is the increased extortion revenues for organized crime cartel. Afterall, those are the same people, who tried to imprison you in the first place for doing something, that does not fit in their aesthetic taste.

    Probably soon when the chinese and other producers stop lending for US, US has to find more ways to extort money from it’s subjects to finance it’s ever expanding wars.

  17. I’ve never found any problem driving high, nor have I ever witnessed anyone having a problem doing it.

    OK legalization types, listen up. The argument above? Not helping you!

  18. The fact is, MJ has more benefit than harm. Especially when partaking appropriately and in moderation.

    I tend to agree with the concept that the mafias of the world, whichever groups you want to label that way, will change their focus of ways to fleece the populace and though that scares me, not more than walking down the street.

    When your vices are legitimized, you will have to pay more for them in taxes, but you have more freedom to partake. Regardless, it’s still control either way; you’re either free to pay tax or free to chill in a cell for a while and work for “the man” for pennies on the dollar, (ahem) sharecropping for a tiny percent of your actual potential.

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