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The Electric Grapevine | The Upside of Down | 1.31.10

All of the local media have reported on the marijuana theme with catchy, cute little plays on words but I just can't bring myself to do it. So let me be blunt and avoid all of the cliches those joints are using and light this column up without resorting to tokin' word plays.

With Cannabiz now relegated to reruns it will be interesting to see how opinions vary throughout the area. As the director himself stated, it doesn't appear that the film will sway anyone from either side of the razor wire fence but it sure makes for interesting discussion.

In my opinion, as both a filmmaker and contributor to the film, I feel the crew stuck to their initial mission statement of presenting the situation in a neutral light. Sure some of the cutaway flashbacks were a little over the top but they have to be to convey so much in a short, audio less segment. Ironically, the biggest issue facing the area hung over the town in one of the wide shots in the form of a bluish cloudy mass.

There will always be the townsfolk who declare we're on the map or television for all the wrong reasons but there are also the folks who stick with the old "Any publicity is good publicity."

I tend to lean more towards the latter. I'm delighted to see people outside the area actually talking about Grand Forks. Typically, the only way anyone can locate the town is by feeding off the clues "near Christina Lake" or "past Osoyoos". Who wants to be found like that?

That means if the communities of the Boundary were each a Baldwin brother, Grand Forks would be Daniel the ex-con who bounces between rehab and reality TV. Not even Stephen or William c'mon!

I'm perfectly fine with having people know about the area and we should be thankful the program wasn't about meth and didn't delve further into the shadows of our community. There's a faction in town that thrives on isolation and the decreasing level of activity. These people drive me nuts, and I freely but politely tell them this every so often.

Last summer, I had a spirited discussion regarding the potential of air boats on the river. I opted to argue for it just to see how far this local would take their narrow mindedness. As I have said before, the picture people like this paint is so skewed that I can only imagine they are envisioning these air boats literally grinding up the wildlife along the Granby and spewing them out the back of the machines razor sharp blades that likely have a skull and crossbones painted on them.

Disturbing the defecation and alcohol consumption of the tubers was, understandably, a prime concern. These locals are the same ones who parrot on about the town's unique charm, quaint scenery and proximity to amenities like an apathetic realtor on Ambien. "Quiet and peaceful" should not be mistaken for the sound of a failing economy.

In Cannabiz, Mayor Taylor spoke of the 50 potential jobs that could be created by having a legalized marijuana growing facility. That is more than Market Avenue currently employs. More than a few butts shifted in their seats at the mere thought of this facility. Would the same hesitance be present if a brewery decided to call the Boundary home? I doubt it.

"Well that's different," bark the naysayers. It sure is. I've never had a violent conflict with a pot user but I sure have had a number of them with drunkards. Don't believe me? Next Friday night go to Vancouver and spend three hours outside of the Cambie Pub. Afterwards, if you are still able to, walk a block over to the Amsterdam Cafe and spend three hours loitering there. Be sure to tell me which was the more stressful experience. 

David Suzuki may have lost a battle or two to stoners it seems, as his Downside of High was a rather lopsided program if not just for the layout of the show. The first half of this show had me fearing the majority of Grand Forks as Suzuki had me thinking the town was a hotbed for schizophrenic psychopaths that would turn into depraved zombies at any given toke. As a precaution, I stocked up on Doritos and candy bars in case a diversion was needed.

I realized this was pointless though, as I remembered a stoned individual won't actually get up or do anything harmful whatsoever. It remains that the only link between violence and pot usage is video games. Suzuki's wrap up involving some born again whatevers did nothing to convince me of the shows' neutrality. A simple close up on these "clean" youth showed us there was far more than pot usage affecting the success and health of this group but pot was made the crutch of choice to focus on for theatrical purposes.