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ROLLING PAPERS (#HotDocs15 Review)

rolling_papersROLLING PAPERS

Directed by Mitch Dickman

I can imagine that there were a fair amount of filmmakers in Colorado on the scene for the legalization of marijuana in 2014. Fortunately for us, Mitch Dickman was one of those people. His documentary, ROLLING PAPERS, focuses specifically on the hiring of a pot editor by the Denver Post, which led to the launch of The Cannabist, a website dedicated to marijuana journalism. Dickman keeps the pace brisk and exciting with a hopped up soundtrack and creative editing and titling. Aside from the visually stimulating backdrop, he also puts forth a lot of interesting and challenging ideas about what the legalization of marijuana really means to the average pot smoker on the street.


Ricardo Baca, a music journalist for years, became the Denver Post’s first pot editor when Colorado legalized marijuana because the Denver Post believed that this change in the law warranted a focused, balanced attention. While some believed that the Denver Post would be headed downhill from there, Baca would go on to prove them all wrong. The Cannabist features critical reviews of different strains and guest columns from celebrities. It also ran stories about inconsistent active THC levels in now legally distributed pot edibles, which led to both disgruntled consumers as well as a suicide of a college student who ate far too much. It is stories like these that led Colorado to take a harder look at their THC regulation testing. It isn’t every day that journalism still impacts actual change.


The pot industry is referred to in ROLLING PAPERS as a true industry now and this means it needs to be given the proper credit, especially when 54% of Americans want to see marijuana legalized in their states as well, and especially when the taxes from the legal selling of pot is making Colorado millions of dollars. Watching this team of journalists pursue their pot related stories with the same investigative integrity one would expect from any professional, lends a great deal of legitimacy to an issue that is still in its evolutionary infancy. It also makes for really great film.

4.5 sheep

ROLLING PAPERS will have its International Premiere at the HotDocs Canadian International Film Festival this year, as part of Next program, which spotlights the arts, creativity, music and pop culture.

Screening Schedule …

Friday, April 24, 7:00 PM, Hart House

Sunday, April 26, 1:45 PM, ROM

Saturday, May 2, 6:30 PM, Bloor HotDocs

For more information and for tickets, please visit

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