Film director Louis Gasnier was a pioneer.
In the early days of American cinema, he was on the leading edge of new trends and was famously prolific.
French journalist and cinema historian Georges Sadoul wrote that Gasnier directed between 100 and 200 films from 1909 to 1914.
Gasnier’s bread and butter were “damsel in distress” serials, such as international hits like The Perils of Pauline and The Exploits of Elaine.
But those are only footnotes in his legacy.
Gasnier isn’t remembered for his successes. He’s remembered for what’s considered one of the worst films of all time – the 1936 propaganda film Reefer Madness.
The ludicrous melodrama warns parents and teenagers about the horrors of pot. And it even had a hand in shaping global policy.
The high schoolers in Reefer Madness smoke weed and then quickly tumble down a rabbit hole of ruin. They start going to jazz clubs (Gasp!) before rapidly escalating to attempted rape, manslaughter, suicide and, ultimately, a descent into madness…
It’s cinematic propaganda on steroids. And it fed into the public’s hysteria surrounding cannabis at the time.
That led up to the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, which essentially banned cannabis across the United States.
Now, not even 100 years later, cooler heads have prevailed. The needle is rapidly moving in the other direction – away from Gasnier’s “legacy.”
A Reefer Reversal
On Monday, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all rocketed to new all-time highs.
A winner in the U.S. presidential election, as well as some very positive COVID-19 vaccine results from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), sparked a massive rally.
In the weeks leading up to the election, I said no matter who won the White House, cannabis would be the clear winner on Election Day.
And that’s exactly what unfolded!
Five states had legalization measures on