And I guess, too, I had a secret—well, not really a secret now—motivation as to why I supported the making of this film. Sacred Cow Productions is the company that Kevin Booth and Bill Hicks started way back in the day when Bill was still alive, before cancer tragically ended his life too early. So, I think I saw this as an opportunity to attach my name to something associated with Bill and Bill’s legacy. (I do think that SCP is carrying on Bill’s legacy to a certain extent, even if Kevin Booth and his team aren’t directly motivated by that.) As some readers may already know, Bill Hicks is something akin to a hero to me and to millions of fans worldwide. Here’s one piece of evidence as to why that is:
So, cancer took that genius away from us. Cancer, it seems, is everywhere today—on the news, on pink-cleated football fields, in our families. This year it hit my own family when my brother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Even though I know about the “Rick Simpson Cure,” I couldn’t send him the cure (which is illegal), so I sent him some hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil. Well, it won’t cure cancer, but at least it’s healthy, right? So, what will cure cancer? This is one of the topics explored in “American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny.” Here’s the trailer:
This film is much more emotionally powerful than I thought it would be. Booth, who serves as producer, writer, director, and voiceover artist, takes the viewer on twin journeys—one with the Hyde family and one with his own. Cash Hyde is a small child battling brain cancer. His case made headline news when his family took him off the hospital cocktail of government-approved drugs and secretly started injecting him with cannabis oil instead. He started healing almost immediately, and his cancer went into remission. The doctors called it a miracle before being told what the Hydes had done, and still called it a miracle after being told what the Hydes had done. All of the doctors’ medical training and education had led them to believe that healing by plants was not possible, and so to them it HAD to be a miracle. Their textbooks (and the pharmaceutical company salespeople) told them so. But because the treatment is not widely available, the Hydes struggle to maintain a supply of the natural healer for their son.
As someone who already believes in the idea of decriminalizing drugs, I didn’t need to be convinced about this topic. However, I still found both families’ journeys to be powerful indictments of our current system, of how we think about and treat disease, illness, and behavioral issues in children. It also shows just how hard it is to accomplish change when an entire society has been conditioned to believe something—no matter how obvious it becomes over time that that something is dangerously WRONG.
One thing the film does not show is the success that Portugal has had over the past decade in treating drug abuse as it should be treated—as a disease, not a crime. Here are two quick videos explaining what’s going on:
I believe this is a realistic policy that America could implement, which would be a major step forward. (I’d prefer complete legalization based on the fact that telling an adult what they can or can’t put into her/his body is a violation of that person’s natural-born human rights, but I prefer to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.) As Bill Hicks once said, “People who are drug addicts are sick, not criminals. They need treatment and compassion, not condemnation and imprisonment.” We now have the data to prove that Bill was not only a genius, but a prophet. This will happen at some point, the only question now is… when? How many people are we going to lock up, take away from their families, and treat as outlaws, simply because they use or abuse a drug? It’s simply insane.
Here are some links for the film:
You may have noticed, above, that I kind of brushed past my brother’s cancer diagnosis rather quickly. What am I ? Some kind of hard-hearted monster? What kind of brother am I, anyway? Shouldn’t I start a tax-free foundation, wear a pink armband, beg strangers on the street to get their colons examined, SOMETHING??? Maybe. Maybe I’m just a no-good son-of-a-bitch.
Maybe I’m, really, just too scared to allow myself to feel what I am supposed to feel. Maybe I can’t take the pain. Maybe I can’t go to those places because I’m afraid I’ll never come back, that they’re too deep down a rabbit hole that will swallow me up for good. Pain, we’re told by the Tony Robbins crowd, is a good thing. It’ll lead you to somewhere nice, somewhere better, somewhere useful. It’s redemptive, or something. Maybe so. Tony Robbins is a smarter man than me, so I’m sure he’s right. But I just can’t take that chance.
I can’t take that chance because if I go to that place, that netherworld of ever-increasing pain and peril, and never come back, then I won’t be able to write. I won’t be able to reach down into the tippy-top of such a place to bring back just the right amount of pain or pleasure or joy or despair I need for a character, for a scene, for a story to work. For you. I can’t get gummed up in that netherworld because then I would become stuck in time, black-tarred to a distemporal reality that would render all creative impulses impotent.
And we couldn’t have that, now could we?