Mile High: The Comeback
of Cannabis is an effort by two friends, comedian Adam Hartle and director
Anthony Hashem, to document Colorado’s 2012 effort to legalize cannabis. As
many states, including Oregon, move toward legalization, the pair are taking
their film on the road to raise awareness—and hopefully—gain some unlikely
supporters. CULTURE recently sat down
with the film’s star, Adam Hartle, to talk about this experience and the future
of cannabis culture.
Can you talk a little
bit about how this project came to be?
My heroes are guys like [George] Carlin and Bill Hicks, so I
like to be funny but I also like to have a positive message behind what I’m
doing. And after a particular show, everyone wanted to talk about my weed
jokes—you know, “do you think it’s gonna pass?” That’s all anyone wanted to
talk about. So, we’re sitting there smoking after the show, like we tend to do,
and were thinking about, what if it did pass in Colorado, how cool would that
be? And so we thought, let’s schedule some shows in Colorado the week before
the vote. Things just went from there.
Obviously you’re a
funny guy, but how did the idea of making a comedy-documentary come to pass?
I mean, weed’s fun. People like to laugh when they’re
high—it’s just a fun topic. When I take on a project I want it to be funny and
I want it to be good for society. We thought it was a great opportunity—with
the vote coming up—to achieve those two goals.
You bought the first
legal cannabis ever. What was that experience like?
Yeah, it was really cool. We froze our asses off waiting. It
was just a cool moment in time. We were kind of just having fun, but then we
were like, “wow, there’s media from the whole world coming here.” We met a lot
of really cool people in line throughout the night. It was a fun time.
You said in the film
that your mother didn’t know you used cannabis. I assume she does now—how did
that conversation go?
My mom is super cool, she’s just very old school. She knows
I do now, but I just downplay everything—like “mom, I only do that when I’m in
Denver.” There are just two topics—weed and religion—I try not to bring up
around her. But, at least I’ve gone from “the guy making a drug movie” to,
“that’s my son on the news!”
You guys really
seemed to hit it off with Tom Tancredo—do you think this is an issue both
liberals and conservatives will ultimately get behind?
Yeah, I think so. Tom is just a fun guy. We reached out to a
lot of politicians, and a lot of them said no. And, Tom’s like, “sure I’ll sit
down with you.” This is a time of terrible partisanship, and the fact that a
lot of different people can agree on this topic, I think, is a big deal.
He was surprised that
the measure passed (particularly because he promised to smoke a joint with you
if it did). How did you end up letting him off the hook?
I said, “you know there’s a way you can smoke weed with me
without actually smoking—I’ll smoke and you can just be there.” And he said,
“yeah, I’ll do that.” So, that’s how it played out.