Montana's Medical Marijuana Battle

An Interview with Code of the West Filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen

"Marijuana was ubiquitous in Montana, it still is," says Rebecca Richman Cohen, director of the new documentary Code of the West. "Medical marijuana didn't change the culture of Montana." 

The film chronicles the legislative battle over a bill that would repeal the state's 2004 legalization of medical marijuana. The fight was spurred by some Montanans' concerns over the appearance of medical marijuana dispensaries and advertisements in age-inappropriate areas. 

A culturally conservative state with a libertarian individualist streak and a popular Democratic governor (who appears in the film wielding a cattle-branding iron to veto the repeal bill), Code of the West shows a state struggling with an "anxiety about the identity of Montana...and a nostalgia for a past that was really imagined."

The film premiered at this year's South By Southwest festival, and can be viewed on numerous video on-demand outlets.

About 5.30 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher. Camera by Jim Epstein.

Music: "Southern Born" by Waylon Thornton (

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Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • grey||

    First hit.

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  • MSimon||

    When endocannabinoid is a household word these battles will end.

  • Waterfall67b||

    See the YouTube video: "Thomas Szasz: The Right to Take Drugs."

    Szasz demonstrates the futility of any argument that attempts to medicalize the case for or against substances taken primarily for non-medical or recreational purposes.

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    It's funny how people say drugs need to be illegal so people don't use them. Isn't that what's happening now with drugs being illegal?

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