fri 22/11/2019

High Society: Cannabis Café, Channel 4 review - pointless investigation into drug-taking | reviews, news & interviews

High Society: Cannabis Café, Channel 4 review - pointless investigation into drug-taking

High Society: Cannabis Café, Channel 4 review - pointless investigation into drug-taking

Watching people get high for no purpose

Maureen, 84, was trying drugs for the first time

This was the first of a two-part investigation into... well, I don't know what. The voiceover of High Society: Cannabis Café said it was an experiment “to test the alleged benefits of weed” and the people featured all had “a personal motivation for getting stoned” as they visited an Amsterdam coffee shop, where dope is sold legally.

The jaunty music and lack of scientific context suggested that it was essentially a voyeuristic exercise where we watched normally uptight Brits getting giggly, having the munchies and (a few) telling someone they loved them.

There were occasional funny moments, such as when ex-drugs squad policeman Des, whose nose twitched at the fug in the café, took a few tokes on his first joint  and promptly barfed all over the floor. 

The star of the show, though, was 84-year-old Maureen, who took part because she wanted to understand why her grandson Sam loves getting high. She took a few lungfuls of a “volcano” – a bag filled with cannabis vapour – and swore it didn't affect her, but needed a large Coca-Cola immediately after, a dead giveaway. Sam quipped about cannabis being a gateway drug: "You've tried some weed, now you want some Coke."

Meanwhile, Jane, who has MS, get stuck in to large doobie which not only dulled her pain for an evening, but allowed for a more frank conversation with her daughter than they normally have about her illness and their fears around it.. 

Friends Sade and Sashelle, too, were able to open up about the problems they both have as single mothers, while couple Ryan and Sophie had what was veering towards a frankly icky conversation about their lack of intimacy.

In a serious documentary these vignettes would have prompted some fact-based and insightful  discussion about drug use, and why the Dutch appear to have a much better approach to soft drugs – not least because cannabis cafes like the one shown in the programme have informed staff who steer first-time users to the softest forms of marijuana.

It’s a debate worth having;  in the UK, cannabis for medicinal use was licensed earlier this year, but there’s confusion about prescribing and sourcing it, while there is a growing problem with the ready availability of skunk, high in the psychoactive THC, which can be a very dangerous drug for those with mental-health problems.

But those issues – although alluded to with the inclusion of Jamie and Des – weren’t discussed here, making High Society: Cannabis Café a rather pointless  programme.

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In a serious documentary these vignettes would have prompted some fact-based discussion

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Average: 2 (1 vote)

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