Adam Scorgie – Documentary Filmmaker of The Union & The Culture High


Don’t miss this candid conversation with Adam Scorgie creator of two gripping documentaries about the cannabis industry, The Union: The Business Behind Getting High and his most recent work, “The Culture High.” Adam has unique and entertaining way of breaking down both the dysfunction of marijuana prohibition and the opportunity that lies ahead. The Culture High interviews some of the most outspoken cannabis advocates including: Sir Richard Branson, Joe Rogan, Dr. Lester Grinspoon and more. Visit

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Matthew: Hi, I'm Matthew Kind. Each week I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving legal marijuana industry a little more at that is C-A-N-N-A One of the five disruptive trends that will shape the cannabis industry in the next five years. Find out with your free report at That is C-A-N-N-A Now here is your program.

Today we have with us Adam Scorgie who produced and narrated the documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High in 2007 and his latest The Culture High that was released this month. Adam's documentaries are gripping, entertaining, and very informative and I highly suggest if you haven't seen The Union please go see that and The Culture High just came out. We'll tell you how you can see that, but it is incredible as well. So I'm super excited to have Adam on the show today. Welcome Adam.

Adam: Well, thank you very much for having me.

Matthew: Sure. For people that aren't familiar with you can you just give a little bit of background about who you are, how you got into documentary filmmaking and specifically into the cannabis genre for your first two documentaries?

Adam: Sure. I'm a comedian producer. I went to film school in New York, I actually started in front of the camera and was acting in stuff first and then when I came back to Canada in 2003 really a lot of people that I went to high school with and stuff had now gotten into the marijuana business in Canada and British Colombia. So I wanted to do a film about how this billion-dollar industry seems to function while remaining illegal and why was it so accepted by culture for everyone that we point the finger at growers for being the bad guys yet they were the life source of a lot of their businesses.

So we dove into this film The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, which we thought, would be something we put together in a year and four years later we finished this film and it became an accidental gold classic. It went viral online and almost everyone that has ever tried to look for any research on marijuana has come across The Union and has accidentally become which is total honor to us, kind of this like the one you want to get into to be in there understand what's going on start with The Union.

Then when we thought we were done with drug policy films and cannabis films then The Culture High came about. We were done we didn't want to do another drug policy film or anything about cannabis. But really this online audience that we built up over the years had said they wanted another one and then we just received thousands of emails and social media messages and everything else so we just finally said we embraced it and said, "Okay let's do it." Then we went to Kickstarter and the audience supported us loud and clear. We raised $240,000 in 42 days and people said, "Damn right! Let's go make another one."

Matthew: So get some context there. I mean that's way, way more than a normal Kickstarter right?

Adam: Way more and at the time it was actually, it was like the sixth highest grossing in film and video project in Kickstarter history. But since then you've had Veronica Mars go on there, Zack Braff, some other really big people are coming and not just out of there but it was, at the time, it was the largest, six largest film and video and it was like the third largest or second largest documentary and it's still is in the top 20. I mean it's really hard to raise anything $100 especially in the film genre. So it's amazing to me this audience that had fell I love with The Union that just was like, "Yes, go please make another one."

Matthew: It's so funny you say that because it seemed to be people that like documentaries or have Netflix I bump into them and we are taking about a couple of things. We talk about The Union and it comes up and immediately the conversation deviates for like 10 or 15 minutes just about all the things that you saw on The Union. So I think you've got a very passionate following that's interested in the subject matter for sure.

Adam: It's a total sloop and something that it's an honor I mean it's weird for us to even say it because we dot consider ourselves those kind if guys we are small-town guys and it's weird to say to people are like, "I'm a big fan." And I'm like, "Wow! That's weird we have fans." And then they want to take pictures and things and of course I'm honored. I'll take any picture, I'll do a thousand of them if people want and sign photos whatever. I can't even believe people want to take pictures with me and sign photos it's awesome. But it's just weird that this film because we did everything you are not supposed to do. We borrowed family money, it was our first film, we did a documentary which just documentary stands for making no money and we did it about cannabis which.

It seems like now everybody thinks, well everybody is getting into cannabis business and there is TV shows, but we The Union like it was really taboo. Before I found my director Brett Harvey and the original crew Steven and Brad the three of us no one wanted to touch it because like it's so controversial. That's why even at the time getting Joe Rogan in the first film to talk about and not just talk about it but talk about his personal youth back in 2005 that was a big thing for mainstream NBC guy that was hosting a couple of shows to come out and be like, "Yeah, I smoke weed. I don't just think it's okay for people to smoke it I smoke it."

Matthew: Yeah, he spoke about it in a way that was just so candid but also made people look at it in a different way and that was very refreshing. I mean 2007 wasn't that long ago but in the evolution of what's happening with cannabis now it kind of is. How do you feel things have changed since your first documentary The Union and now The Culture High?

Adam: Things have changed so much and that's what's actually made it really tough for us to do The Culture High because The Union really kind of opened the door for a lot of people with knowledge of like basic knowledge. If you were someone that had any experience or done some research on cannabis like you'd get the hardcore activist going, "I knew everything in there." and it was like, "Yeah, but this wasn't targeted for you. it was targeted for people like us the film makers and we went into it just wanting to do an expose of this industry and we were like holy cow what we knew about cannabis and the drug world is completely wrong." So we evolved from there. Then now doing The Culture High people are way more sophisticated and smart. So it was really tough for Brad, the director and myself and the team to really find a way to be different, bolder.

We've got better filmmakers and the expectations on us was incredible. There were times where Brad and I were in tears because some people literary were expecting our film to change the world. The messages we get they are like, "You guys are the key." And I'm like, "Wow!" Pressure is so overwhelming. Majority of the time when you make a sequel it sucks. Dog shit film that just cashed in but that wasn't the case for us. we certainly didn't cash in because we went and borrowed more money from my dad again to make this one on top of Kickstarter and everything because to make something bigger and better than The Union we had to really step it up. So it was really a big challenge but I absolutely think Brad fucking ...excuse I don't know if I can use that language.

Matthew: Sure, sure, go ahead.

Adam: He absolutely nailed it on this one. I'm not saying that because I'm the producer. I watch a lot of documentaries and I know story structure and I know cinematography and everything else and I think Brad, and I man I'm just reading the reviews online from the audience and some from the critique world. 70% from the New York Times and everything and News Weekly and Film Journal were all really positive. Yeah Hollywood Reporter and LA Times smashed us but that's to be accepted that's just the way, you can't win them all. But when you look at the audience reviews it's like Brad's vision connected perfectly with what we were trying to do and with what I think the audience wanted to see.

Matthew: Yeah, and I should take a pause here and say that the way this is edited or made I'm not sure what you guys did here but I'm used to this long pauses or things in documentaries. This is just going and going and going and going and you get one great tip and then you get another and then it circles back to an earlier point and it's just there is the sense of moving. There is no slowness about it. it really keeps the attention so that was incredible. How did you do that?

Adam: Matt I'm so glad you noticed that because even though you say you don't know that's a skill that that's new. That's something in the new age and it's Brad's style and actually I know some other really big directors that copied that in their last films because like you said docs have this thing where they hang on things for a long time.

Matthew: Yes.

Adam: It's like a long drawn out thing and Brad is the new generation that grew up on YouTube where it's quick cut short videos, quick points don't linger there too long. So it's really cool that actually you noticed because that was something that Brad was really like literary as soon as there is nothing to the moment, there is no more emotion that can be added, no more education, no more hanging on. Actually because I come with this generation when I watch other docs and like they are winning all these awards and I go and I'm like, "Whoa! Can I move this scene along? Like could have cut it." and I hate doing that as a filmmaker because I hate it when people do that to us because when you have your point of view whenever you get nods like that from filmmaker to filmmaker, it's a style thing. There is no longer something to make the film better just your style would do it one way my style would do it a different way. You have to be very cognoscente of that when people, other filmmakers are like, "What do you think?" and do notes.

A lot of times when I do notes, I'll just say, "Listen I would have done things differently but that's my style. As far as your film and what you are trying to do I think it's great? Don't adjust that. But it's interesting to see that you and I'm just reading all the stuff online and it's really resonating with the audience, which is what we hoped because we made this film the audience demanded it so we made it for them. We didn't make it for us and we didn't make it for anything other than them. So even if the critics were smashing us although it as really tough on Brad because he had never been ousted that bad before because The Union kind of went under the radar so we didn't have the big critics looking at it. That's why I look at kind of differently and Brad is like, "Dude the guy from Variety just smashed me and ripped my name like four times," and I'm like, "Dude its Variety who cares. It's huge.

Not many docs even get a review on Variety so just got in there." But here is what was pretty nasty because he was deliberately trying to get people not to watch the film you could tell. That's the interesting thing and we talk about this in The Culture High where people are defending their egos and defending their badge of identity so the facts wont penetrate on them because they are so stuck in their team versus the other team that you can throw all the information in the world and they are not going to move just because then it makes them challenge who they are as a person.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: So you can see even in some of our reviews that it's like they are totally targeting the issue and not targeting the film. In fact, I won't say who, but one of the negative reviews actually opened up saying, "This film is only for stoners and people of that mind," and I was like, really? I was like we involved Richard Branson; we're getting invited to Parliament to screen it. It is far more than just something for stoners. But you clearly put yourself on one side of the argument and then you are branding people into a certain category, which is what we are trying to get past and look beyond that. The Culture High really steps further the marijuana and talks much more about human culture and why we get caught up in this argument. So it's fascinating to see everything you talk about in the film is even apparent in some of the reviews we've got.

Matthew: No you mentioned Parliament; was there some members of parliament that watched The Union as well?

Adam: Yeah, we were. The Union got invited to parliament hill in Canada, which is our congress building. I thought it was a prank at first. I got an email and they were like, "We'd like you to screen your film first hand and there is MPs," and I was like get out of here. I called them I'm like, "Is this real?" and they are like, "Yeah, yeah would you come?" and I was like, "Yeah, this is like the parliament hill in Odawa?" they are like, "Yap, yap." And I'm like, "So would be like a building down the road or?' and they are like, "No, we want you to come." And I was like, "Hell yeah." so yeah, we had a full screening, it was 35 people; there was two senators, several MPs from all different parties; there was the liberals, the conservative, and a whole bunch of junior members that came through. It was amazing to see this.

When I was talking to kind of our host I said, "Why made you guys invite us?" and he said, "Honestly we've received so many dumb letters about your movie that finally we were just like let's just bring here. We've received because the way we think ..." and he made an interesting point that, "Handwritten letters are still very important to your local congressman or politicians because they equate each handwritten letter, not a signed petition but something you write about a pint. They think that about 500 other people agree with your letter you are just the only one that's taken the time to write it." and they received hundreds of letters about the same subject they equate that into thousands.

Matthew: Interesting.

Adam: So that's why they finally brought me out there and now they are looking to bring a second role. We are actually looking. There is talks about getting Justin Trudeau to attend because he's seen union and he is looking at a decriminalized or legalization model for Canada so it would be interesting to see if someone that's potentially the new wanting to be the prime minister of Canada would be attending my movie. We'll do the screening in Odawa on November 26.

Matthew: That's incredible. That's incredible.

Adam: Yeah.

Matthew: Shaping the national debate there. That's great.

Adam: It's opening minds, I mean, that's ultimately when we finish the film is what our goals was because people say, "Oh, if you are an activist." I'm like, "I'm not an activist I'm a filmmaker." "But you make these films." I'm like, "Yeah and a great filmmaker goes for truth. That's what we do." So you can say I'm on one side or the other but the other side has been presented so long for Canada and the drug war that now you are just hearing them on the side. That's what we will say is like, "Look don't take everything we say verbatim. We are filmmakers; we could have made a mistake. But if our film gets you after either one that you are watching, you go start doing your own research and come to your own informed conclusion, that's a great film. We've won at that point. That's all that matters because if a film resonates with you so much like you even said in conversation you guys end up talking about it, makes you want to do more research, makes you want to look things up, that's what a great film does it inspires you to go learn more.

A shitty film is like the ones that you forget you've even watched. "Have you seen that movie?" "Oh yeah I've watched this one." That's a bad movie. You want it to be other way around and we know we've accomplished that with The Union because it's become this little film that nobody should have seen that's been viewed well over 10 million times if you add up all our views in all the various different platforms. Now it appears that The Culture High is right on that next step. I mean we've only been released for five days and already there is porn sites all over which there is good and bad with that, I'm hoping all of it people that porned it they did like it. I think people often with the movie industry think like, "Oh you guys made a movie, so you are making it like you did it so I don't need to pay for your shit." But that is not the case especially for documentaries. We have not did it or done it. We are struggling all the time like any other person out there, like there is months where it's like, "Do we have enough for groceries this month? Do we have enough to pay our bills?"

Matthew: Sure.

Adam: That's why we took kind of like a hybrid model because we couldn't do just a Louis CK model. We wanted to but we had to get presales to get into production. So like I mentioned earlier on top of Kickstarter I had my stepfather put in another 150,000 into this film and we had presales from those four films, we have presales from super channel, we had our tax credit all those things that you get a gap financing from the bank. So the total budget was around 650.

Matthew: Okay.

Adam: Right and people are like, "What did you spend that on?" Well traveling, when Richard Branson is going to give you a free 45 minutes, you have to just be there on the day and usually they give you three days' notice, "Oh I'm ready this Friday at this time so be here." So it's like fly the whole crew, all your equipment, hotels and then I'm paying my guys because this isn't a hobby for us. Brad Steven my director and the other producer if they are not paid, they've got to work on reality shows and stuff so a regular production. Then you've got your payroll. Anyway not to get you bored with that.

So we couldn't do the hybrid, we did a hybrid release we wanted to do like a Louis CK thing and just say, "Here it is $5 everyone in the world is going to have it boom!" So filmmakers if you are not on Netflix and you are not in certain markets then you don't exist and when we go to try to do something else if we weren't on those platforms people don't even care that you made a film. You're like, "Oh, It's been viewed in the internet 100 million times." They'll be like, "I don't care. Is it on Netflix, did you go through proper distribution channels?" Like you are shunned in the industry.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: So we wanted to do a hybrid so we presold it before phase four they bought the first film, jumped onboard, and bought the second film right away. So then we thought like well we don't want the rest of the world to wait so then Vimeo approached us with their new VOD platform at Sundance and we were like, "Listen with your following and because this is a film of purpose this is what you guys need to do." And we agreed and we actually disagreed with our sales agent. He wanted to do a traditional release that would have held it up to where Europe and stuff wouldn't have been able to see it for probably another year and we said no way. We said we want to go to Vimeo and we sealed it. For the first couple of days, we had it just download only and now we've made it available for rent so essentially for $5 you can rent the film. For a price of a cup of coffee or hamburger you can support filmmakers that put four years of their lives and 150,000 of their parents retirement money, you can support them. I think that's a fair price for the content we put together.

Matthew: Yeah and then also you can watch it right on your phone very easily without any plugins or anything like that which is very convenient.

Adam: It's got one although it's supposed to be, there has been a few messages out of the couple thousands but not many. They've had struggles. Now I'm not a great guru of that but they are able to transfer and they can put it right on their Apple TV or Hoku or which is in there?

Matthew: Roku.

Adam: Roku. They can put it all in that as well so you can watch it on your TV as well as your mobile devices. But just this way it's available and there is 65 countries that have purchased it already. I mean we've had the Philippines, Israel, you name it, I look on their, I'm like, wow Norway, Philippines, Malaysia this is awesome. Even if it's a couple of sales, you would have never gotten anything there before so we are really hoping and we really went against the industry. The industry was saying "Absolutely not. You guys have made an incredible film, we are going to do a traditional release, we are going to go here in Europe, we are going to do this, we are going to do that." and we were like, "No we think it's better to go this way so the whole world can have it at the same time." So on October 17 just a few days ago, the Vimeo on demand made it so that if you are in the UK and you want to watch the film, it's there.

Matthew: That's great. That is great. Things are changing really fast. When you talk about Louis CK, just for the people that don't know, he is a standup comedian that released one of his specials or I think $5 and kind of disrupted the industry with that because it was just no comedy central, no HBO, just on a website, boom! Download it; watch it and a lot of other entertainers and filmmakers are kind of following that model. I welcome that because it seems why not disintermediate where we can? I mean there is still opportunity for other channels but I like the direct channel myself.

Adam: That's the thing it's like because I've written I take my time to connect with the audience like, "Why didn't you just do Louis CK?" I was like, "Two big differences; one Louis CK is super famous and he has incredible following. He is arguably probably the comedian that is at most at the top of his game right now for standup comedy I would say. He is probably at the top. Then the second thing is, is that to go shoot an hour special I'm not taking anything away with like writing and everything else but actual physical production is much easier than going and shooting a documentary that took us two years by travelling all over the world as far as cost.

And he's got other jobs where if he puts it out there and it doesn't work he's got his writing job, he is on TV, endorsement. For us if we put it out there and it doesn't work the risk is all on us, we don't pay our bills, we are in trouble. So we wanted to do a hybrid of that and that's why like I said that's why we liked the Vimeo thing where it's like men we can still offer something like to our fans plus we had presales in place. We had certain distributors and buyers so when you do that they own certain rights to your film so you can't just say, "Well I'm going to do this." they are like, "No, no I pre-bought it a year and a half ago so you can't do that."

Matthew: Okay.

Adam: So just giving people a heads-up because I love the model of Louis CK and it's really interesting for filmmakers like especially if you are in the spot. Because me and the director Brett Harvey keep talking about like if we could find a way to do real Hindi film like for $100,000 or something and then just totally say, "Hey guys we are putting it out here for you guys pay $5." It's kind of that model now where it's tough for anybody else to say that it should be much more. Like Joe Rogan talked about this on this podcast too because he did an online special like that and he was just like, "You can't charge more than $5 because he is like even Joe respects Louis CK to the fucking nine" and he was like, "Louis CK is a man and if he is charging $5, you have to have a real big ego to think you can charge more than him for an hour special."

Matthew: Right.

Adam: So Joe is like that is kind of shaped the industry standard that's what it did. It's $5 for an hour special.

Matthew: Now switching gears back to The Culture High film, is there any moments where you are in a screening and the audience reaction surprised you?

Adam: I get that all the time. Brad added a lot of humor to the film that you notice so much more when there is an audience. So there are certain parts where I thought, "That's kind of humorous," but when you see an audience and everybody is laughing you are like, "Wow! This is a documentary and we are making them laugh like a comedy." Then also there is parts I love, I guess it's not surprised but I love to see is when the story of Jason and his son Jayden comes on and I start seeing people. I look and I see the guys trying not to cry because they don't want to be like, "No, I did not come to a documentary so that I can cry." So they are trying to rub their eye on their shoulder and kind of look tough. The girls are just there letting it go. So I love it. It's my favorite part.

I actually usually stand up and I get back in the audience and I love to see like that's the part for me as a filmmaker that you are just, it's like I can't do anything else. When you see your film affecting an audience like that, affecting emotions, possibly affecting future change how do you go back to your paycheck that just says, "Here is numbers on a piece of paper. You did it." It's just never as fulfilling as that. Those parts I love. Then the one part that actually that has really surprised me is the opening scene with the archival footage of the raid. I didn't realize how many people found that really emotional. There's been a lot of people actually cry from that because they are such animal lovers when they show the dog getting shot. Spoiler alerts for people listening here, there is a lot of them.

Matthew: My wife cried during that section with Jayden, maybe we talk a lot about this subject of seizures and CBD and so forth on this show but maybe you can give a little background on what that part of the film is about with Jayden and his dad.

Adam: Yeah, well that is I mean right now and you've heard the National Epilepsy Board come out and say this is some strong evidence. I mean there's parents that are going from their kid seizuring three to 500 times a day. They take an organic non-psychoactive cannabis oil, which is usually high in CBD low NTHC, really tough to get right now because of a lot of snake oil out there because it's not regulated and controlled. But people go their children go from that many seizures a day down to one to two a week or sometimes a month. Then parents are like, "I don't care if I am breaking the law you are going to have to come in with an army to get me to stop giving something to my child that's giving him his life back."

Matthew: Right.

Adam: Right, and at that point, I'm even at a thing where even you still get amazed there saying, "Oh, pseudoscience" Like, "Listen I have children, if my children from having that many seizures to living a good life, I don't care if there is even a placebo effect benefit and you are not going to tell me. I don't care if it's regulated." That's where actually in Colona when we did a screening; we donated a majority of our ticket sales to this young girl Kayla that suffers from the same thing. She is only a year and a half and her father was former RCNP and he was totally against and thought, "Oh this legalization and medical cannabis is all bullshit. It's just people who want to smoke weed." Until it happened to his own granddaughter and now he's come out saying, "I was wrong and I now understand why people have been fighting so hard and why this point is important to them."

As you saw in the film in the culture, I loved the way Brad did it where then he showed some of these key arguments that the other politicians have said right. After that powerful section where you have Barbara Bush and then you have Mitt Romney and these people saying, "Isn't there things of importance you want to ask?" I will give the broadcaster a credit in that because she tries then she is like, "This is important to some people." And he is like, "Shouldn't we be thinking about things like the economy, like the Iran situation. We have tremendous things but you want to talk about pot? Sure, sure I think it should be." And it's funny because some of our critics go, "That's out of context."

And it gets completely in context. You see where you think this is a stupid issue because cannabis isn't in your life, you are like, "Your argument is stupid I don't really care. I'm not into this kind of movie." Until it happens to a family member and given the ending of a film, he is like, "You believe it until it happens to your daughter, your sister, your brother or somebody you care about." Then you go, oh wow now I get it. But do you?"

That's what's changing things now and that's what we talk about in the film and what I think what's really changed drug policy from when we did The Union is access to information through Smartphones and sharing has quadrupled. Now you can do it like a bazillion times from when we did The Union. So now information, personal stories like this of children that are having dramatic results can be shared around the world with this person's iPhone. You can put it there show the results and boom! It's real-time they are filming it in good quality, it goes on the internet and it can get attention and you can share it in ways that you couldn't before. Politicians can be called on their bullshit like they couldn't before too. I bring this up in a lot of interviews when in a clip we are having a trailer and it's in The Union we have Ron Reagan, he's doing a press conference, he is like, "This new information and I'm disappointed that the media hasn't shown it more than they already have. That they believe marijuana can be the most dangerous drug that is in use in our society today."

When Ron Reagan said that on that platform, you thought even if you had personal experience with it you are like, "Maybe I didn't do it or maybe he's got some information I don't know about. Holy shit! He is running for president. He became [SP] shit." But nowadays when somebody starts arguing like you would Google pot med and be like, "What study are you referring to because I'm going to look right now so I can get the information for myself. Because I understand pot gets pretty hawky and it's based on money more than it is about serving the people so why don't you tell me what study you are referring to. Oh you don't have it off the top of your head because you are bullshitting? Got you." You couldn't do that before. You can do that to them now which really makes it interesting which is why we added that internet section into the film because that's where you are seeing in our opinion why drug policy has changed so much more in the last five years than it has in the last 40.

Matthew: It's unbelievable the contrast. These news actors seem to be regurgitating the same talking points over and over and over again and then when you have someone like Richard Branson come in and you can tell he's thought about this and he also is a person that kind of bridges several generations. He appeals to a younger generation all the way up to my grandmother and he can speak in a way that's like, "Wow this is so much more real than the news actor big network just regurgitating points from their teleprompter."

Adam: The whole thing of the way music needs to change. I love how Joe Rogan brings up in his podcast all the time. Think about some the very premise of how music's presented, it's fake and bullshit.

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: You've got people pretending they're not reading from a teleprompter when they are. You've got advertisers that pay for your airtime, so you have to adhere to them. You're putting on makeup as a fucking guy right, to try to look good to appeal to some idea, which they think the news should be told. The whole thing is bullshit. You are wearing a suit, you're doing all these worth, I'm sure most of them would rather show up in T-shirt and jeans and have no makeup. But this is the whole design that we're in it's just bullshit and then even the way they got to do their voice they like, "Tonight at seven we have some major issues coming across." Instead you say like, "Tonight at seven, there are major issues or some crime in fact we're going to bring it to you at seven." Right? The whole thing is bullshit and the whole way it's presented is bullshit from one step to the other and then when you really understand how the advertising dollars work around it, you see Russell Brunt is coming on bigger games just right now saying like look, enough is enough, the news always spreads bullshit.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: And like we bring up in the Culture High is that Houston is just people defending their egos or defending their badge of identity. So even though they know what they are saying is bullshit, they're hired by this company, it's the people they play baseball with and the team sports thing and that is their badge of identity. They're not going to step outside of that and really kill themselves from their immediate team. We're on Blue Team or Red Team like if I step in the middle, then I'm no longer on red team.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: That's what we try to show in the Culture High in which you're trying to see again with the internet and shows like yours and podcast and videos like, that's shifting. People are now getting shift to that right, and that's why I think podcast and stuff are so popular now because you can now hear, like somebody for two hours and someone can bullshit for 10 minutes. So I do regular mainstream media interviews still because you have to view them and there can be a lot of bullshit in there. You only up there for a couple of minutes right. Very easy to just kind of tore the line and say the generic things and you know what kind of questions they're going to ask and the talking points but when we do a live podcast or do something like that for an hour or two hours, it's really tough to pretend to be someone you're not. If you're on there for long enough keep looking to get a sense of who you are.

Matthew: That's true.

Adam: And it's funny because actually that's where talking with some of these people I know they do podcast they say some guests are like no way. My guess not coming on there for an hour and a half and I was like why, because then you actually get a sense of who he really is or she is.

Matthew: Yes. The long format is totally different. It really is so much more comes out, it's amazing.

Adam: And you've gone in there relaxed, kind of situation where just someone can be themselves and they can talk as they want and it's the way the future for me. And you are going to always have radio and news for the most part because they're localized right, and that's where a lot of them now are realizing because they're losing so they just focus on that. They just stay localized so they can stay relevant in their local community but this new age I mean I'm a podcast fanatic and that's why literally when someone says, hey I'll just podcast to the young guys. Try to explain to me why I should do the show and I joke I'm like you had me at podcast, I mean, I love that platform I'm down.

Matthew: Yes.

Adam: You don't have to tell me what you did and who you interviewed. I want to help you, I like what you're doing and I've been there to and in create of hustle, I just, I hope you do well. I want to see you do well; you want to take time with me, awesome. I'm flattered that you want to these flats for a while.

Matthew: So you did a great job of highlighting the evolution of police from kind of this protective layer into really it seems like soldiers now, there's no other way to say it with the equipment and so forth. Do you feel like that's accelerating, getting more militant or do you think it's waning in a little bit now that the spotlight is being put on this police forces and for example on Ferguson, we got a good look of these in actions. Do you feel that it's accelerating or slowing down?

Adam: That was the part for me that shocked me the most. Of what we learnt going into this one is talking to the ex-cops and how they saw it breakdown. Like from when they started their careers, Neil Franklin is now a member of law enforcement against prohibition he's like, "I personally experienced it. When I started as a beat cop [SP], I grow in communities and kids wanted to see my handcuffs, they wanted to ask me what the job was like, it was like we were part of the community. By the end my career, nobody wanted to talk to us like even if we wanted to help a lady cross the road, she's like don't touch me pig, you're going to rat on my friend or whatever."

They connected and this is why they became members of law enforcement against prohibition, almost directly to the drug issue. Because you had seen family members, friends or neighbors or relatives get nailed for non-violent offences where cops are trying to get their string of arrest because they get paid by arrests and the easiest way to get is simple possession. If you have it on you, got you! That's all the evidence I need, possessing boom I get my quote up for so many arrests per month. So what that did is not only just to breakdown the community or breakdown the trust with the cops but what the cops told us when we're interviewing them, these ex undercover cops said, in order to prevent crime, we have to be in with the community and get information from them.

That's how we can prevent a violent thing from happening. But when the community no longer wants to talk to you because you keep squeezing on their relatives, family members and friends for minor drug charges to just try to get the bigger drug dealer, well now we can't prevent crime. So when we can't prevent crime, the only crimes you want to go after are the ones we can solve which is easy one, which is just simple possession or minor trafficking.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: While the big drug dealers rarely got caught because they have the money to defend themselves and the court system is one with money. You're a multi-million dollar drug dealer, you win, right? If those police made one fucking mistake in your arrest, you'll have the lawyer that you're paying half a million dollars for, he will find it and he will get you off. So the cops are even discouraged like, why go after those guys. Let's go after simple possession and minor trafficking. We can nail the guy while he has it on him, got him! Don't have to do anymore, we get our quote up and that was a part he was like, wow I'm listening to this and that's why murder conviction rate. We talk about this in the film, back in like the '80s was actually like really high, I mean like 85%, 85% of the time there was a murder, there's was a meaning that they arrested somebody charged for that murder.

Now that it's got to 60% despite having crazy advancements in technology with GPS tracking and cellphones and DNAs and forensics and everything else and the cops say that it's almost directly because the community looks it as us and them. They don't want to help cops anymore. The whole thing when the DEA analyst have interviewed Sean Dunagan talked about this when we interviewed him that his dad was a beat cop to and stayed in New York when went to work he put on sports coat, he put on his vest and his gun and his badge in jeans and boots. But he leads you look like a civilian other than when you have a hidden gun and his badge, like walking in streets and he'd work the community, he's like now cops are always wearing like military gear and don't even seem welcoming to go talk to them.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: It's so crazy to think and this is the part that gets me because I'm not a real activist. Like I said I'm a filmmaker but this is the part that really pisses me off and why everyone should be upset with this issue is that, cops do not have a financial incentive to go out after murders and rapists, okay.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: I'll say that again, they do not have a financial incentive to go out after murders and rapists. To the most heinous crimes that you can possibly do, you know what they do have a financial incentive to go for, drug dealers. You know why, because they get proceeds of crime, they get seizures of assets. So literally me as a father, if my daughter gets raped, I want that clarity number one. It's not the precinct clarity number one because if they vouch the guy that did it, they don't get seizures of assets, they don't get proceeds of crime, they don't get to congress and ask for more money.

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: They don't have incentive to go after them. Yes you're going to get good cops like anywhere else that are like, this is disgusting, I want to help but the precinct itself does not have a financial incentive to make that arrest because it's one arrest. If they spend three years working on that one arrest, like we say in the film, they even go out to the street massacres and 15 arrests.

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: So they don't measure by this one is a drug dealer he's worth this much, this one's a rapist he's worth this much, they'll always the same when they go to congress they're just numbers on a page. So that part is the most broken part to me, works like wow so precinct literally say we putting 80% of our time just go after drug dealers and proceeds of crime. All other crimes get 20% of our effort. That's bullshit!

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: That's the way it is. And this is why there are so many ex-cops, there now part of law enforcement against prohibition because they've seen it. They've seen families let down. They've seen that this is not working and they've seen that the way if you want to stop that big drug dealer that's a violent criminal, the only way to do that is to take wave as profit margin and the only way to dry them up, is to regulate and control the product, then he's no longer needed and he goes down.

Matthew: Yeah. That kind of does tales with the private prisons. Could you talk a little bit about that because that was alarming to hear the details about the private prisons and the private profit motive?

Adam: Well that's it. I mean James puts a bet where he just like, he just shakes his head and you're junked either from the young Turks which is an awesome online news site where they can be honest. And he just says, we've lost a handle how ridiculous some of the things we do in our society. He's like we're going to give people a profit motive to put people in prison. I wonder what's going to happen, oh the United States starts incarcerating their public more than any other nation in the world, weird. And with the easiest conviction that we just went through in the interview, simple possession.

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: You've got it on you and stop, oh I think I smell something or oh you look suspicious, stop frisk boom got it, done. Possession charged. And then I don't know if your listeners or any of you guys have been through the justice system, I have for a few things and the justice system, and we say this in the film to, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler, there's clearly one law for the rich and powerful and one law for everybody else when it comes to the drug law. The drug law is clearly demonstrate that because we have celebrities they got caught with all kind of drugs everything from heroin, crack and it's a big joke, ha-ha he's in rehab again. And how come you can still travel to other countries?

How come you can still do all this stuff that other people lose when they give you exact same thing. If you're an average American citizen and you get charged with simple possession, you lose your right to education, you lose your funding grand that you can get, you no longer travel to other countries, you have a federal offense that'll prevent you from getting a job.

So it really fucks you far more than the drug itself. And that's the part that is really starting to sink in with people, people were like, oh yeah great, like we need people harming themselves with something else and I was like yeah. But harming them with a criminal conviction taking their right to education and preventing them from travelling so that you and I as taxpayers have to pay for them to go through the justice system? That's far worse. I'd rather someone just smoke weed; I don't care even if he does cocaine in this house, really? I don't. You're harming yourself, if harm is the issue because that's what people are concerned about they sold it very well.

If harm it's a legitimate issue why we should make something illegal or legal, then the North American diet should be made illegal tomorrow because it puts far more people into the medical system than all illegal drugs do, all! If you combine all the illegal drugs every year and the deaths from them, it's below 30,000. The deaths from the United States alone, poor diet and physical inactivity are well over 150,000 every year. So its harm is the thing, the number it's just not there. But that's not the truth, that's the thing that we're trying to show is that isn't it. That's what you can sell it on, it's a great platform. We need to protect the children, the children, what about the children? We always go back to the children.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: Right well if you want to protect the children you need to educate them, you need to put faith cards in place and regulate and control the product so that somebody doesn't sell your 10-year-old weed if you have the money to buy it. That's what you need to put in place and then it's not around shady characters that are going to introduce some two other dangerous things and put them into other bad situations.

Matthew: So true.

Adam: And then if you again if that's the thing it's like I've had my family go through addiction, I've had one of my best friend go through addiction and people are like, "Wow! You've experienced, so like don't you think?" And I was like yeah and you know what would have been the worst thing for my family members and my friends, is criminalizing then when they were trying to battle their addiction. Both of them are lucky they never got caught, right.

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: Because we also came from pretty well of families that could help us go to rehab and get us on track but I couldn't imagine that their struggle was hard enough. I couldn't imagine how that is from someone that is coming from a poor economic situation and how they're trying to get their life back on track even if they wake up in the morning and they like, "That's it. I'm going to be sober and get my life back on track and I'm going to do this." But they have criminal record and they go to job after job after job after job and they're like, "Do you have a record?" "Yes I do." "Next." "Do you have a record?" "Yes I do." "Next." "Do you have a record?" "Yes I do." Can I get hired? Well of course every one of those is like getting rejected by the girl that you fell in love with.

It's just more depressing, more depressing, more depressing and then the whole reason someone was usually addicted to a substance anyway it's their trying to self-medicate and the addict is trying to find an outside double means source to him. Connect with the world better or try to solve his problems through some kind of self-medication and then he gets rewarded trying to get his life back on track by getting rejected. He gets depressed he goes right down the rabbit hole and then if he has a criminal record, and you're going through the justice system, you don't have money to defend yourself, good luck. You're fucked. You're never going to get out of that situation.

Matthew: Now it is really that stacked against a lot of people when they get into that.

Adam: No. And this is the thing with people like what I don't care they shouldn't have made those mistakes, wrong because you know whose paying for them to go through the justice system? You.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: The taxpayer, right? So you want them to get like I do, I want them to get a second chance to get their life back on track, be contributors to society, pay their taxes. But when they can't get a job because they've got community damages for the same thing that our President, the current President, the current Prime Minister, pretty much everybody has done. But they didn't come from the White Family. To give them moral guidance, to help them off their feet when they made a mistake. They came from a shitty environment, they didn't have the money to help them in the justice system or given that right career goals to move forward and their life should be over because of that?

I disagree. I've made lots of mistakes. I would be one of those people. I've made mistakes, not drug charge, but I've had some other incidences where I've been through the justice system and luckily I had a very loving and supporting family that helped me, I could pay the legal bills you could get off because I was right, I wasn't doing anything really that wrong but the courts don't care, you have to provide evidence, they cost you a large money. You have to in gage a lawyer and if you don't have that, you fucked!

Matthew: Yeah. One of the facts that jumped out in the documentary was that the US has 25% of the world's prisoners.

Adam: And 25% of the world's population.

Matthew: Yes. That is a shocking statistic as you know, we're indoctrinated with land of the free and all these things growing up and it's like that cold hard fact suggests something else?

Adam: Well. And then to add to that is five the prisons where even when crime goes down in certain areas, the state has to pay for them to maintain an 80 to 90% occupancy rate. Even if the police go do their job and they reduce crime, the prison has to stay in a certain occupancy rate. So where did they get those numbers from? Easy arrest, simple possession. Got you, you're in prison. They're not getting the white collared crimes like the made-offs and stuff that are ripping off 1000 of people, those take forever. Like that guy was in a 6-year court process for one arrest.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: Way to much work for a cop and to be honest, most cops like in last year like really in an accounting major you don't even really know to get a guy like that.

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: I'm not dissing the cops, white-collar crimes; we mention it in the film. HSBC was caught laundering billions of dollars for the Mexican cartels, red-handed. Nobody was jailed. They got fined and they got slapped on the wrist, that's it. What is the difference in them, as we say in the film we use a harsh other side, a mother of four gets caught selling $31 of marijuana and she gets 10 years. Like where is the justification of that? If you're laundering billions of dollars for the Cartel, you know that's blood money and you have deaths on your hands and a lot of them but no problem, it's a fine. He probably just wrote the check as soon as they walked out of the courtroom. So yeah, no problem that's it. It's like paying interest, here you go.

Matthew: And not only that, you can't find that HSBC story anywhere near the news as other big stories. It almost seems like it was buried.

Adam: Yeah. You have to really look, right? That's what's the great thing about docs and things like these. I know a couple of screenings people are like I'm quitting my HSBC account today. I'd no idea they did that, I'm done. It's cool I didn't even think about other people like in the audience were like you think that it hurt some I'm like listen, they're a giant company but I know as one of my best prime as a branch manager of a bank and they hate every account they will lose. So, hey if you own a couple of 100 accounts quit because of our movie, we bankrupt them but it might make them not shake my hand if they met me in person.

Matthew: Sure. Now turning back the clock to the Union, all your friends that were or still are in the industry like electricians or the realtors all the different people they are part of that network, is that still as liquidize as it used to be as legal...

Adam: Now and that's kind of the interesting thing where people always said, oh do you legalize own work? Almost all the guys I know that were breaking the law, they just went and got their federal licenses through Canada now. So now there's a legal option I'll just do it legally. Sure prices came down but a lot of people rather not risk going to jail like 10% lasts or 20 or whatever, I don't know the numbers but almost all of them, the only ones that didn't were the ones that already had a federal offence and they can't get their medical licenses.

Matthew: Okay.

Adam: I would say now I mean because there's so many people getting into the medical business probably not as liquidize but I know some guys who did then and still do it now because now a lot of them supply for the medical outlets and for the pharmaceuticals. The venture capitalization getting into the legit side of it, so there's opportunity there, right? To get into just a new market so it's still is very liquidize in BC there's no doubt. Matthew: Good. And I know that your father died and you inherited a nightclub, could you tell us a little bit about how that were like and how it changed your perception of alcohol safe, cannabis unsafe?

Adam: Alcohol is not safe.

Matthew: Hey, can you tell us how a little bit about how that was like and how that changed your perception of alcohol safe, cannabis unsafe?

Adam: Alcohol is not safe. In a night club there's no more destructive force than alcohol. In the all the people I know they are addicts it's that and alcohol it's the one that you can see somebody that they can be the coolest guy sober and then seriously get drank it's like they want to fight their best friends, they are just absolute retards, there's nothing worse than alcohol. I see in my family it's caused lots of problems, there's no more destructive drug on the planet and I used to sell it and it was okay and they advertise it as cool, sexy and awesome. Right, that's what everybody should do. That was kind of I had that epiphany. We didn't really talk about it in The Union but it was something I just had where people would totally look at these growers, it's like, they are grower with a scumbag.

I was like yeah but then I'm a night club owner and I sell you shit and people puke and get in a fight and they are like I'm going to fucking degenerate a business and I make profit of you getting wasted and hurting yourself to, what's the difference? And then of course night clubs, a lot of them not just mine but all over the world, really carter to drug dealers because drug dealers have disposable income and when you are in a cash business, who's your favorite client? The one that has trouble getting his money into banks and his much more willing to spend it than the guy that has troubles. Even someone who makes a million dollars legitimately a year, with tax with everything else, they are much more, they know how hard it is to earn that dollar so it's tougher. Even an average grower, even if he's only making a 150 grand a year he gets his big cash payout and it's tough to get all that money in the bank.

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: So what do they do? They like to come to the nightclub and spend a lot of money. So we would treat them with more respect because we're like, "Oh, hey yeah. Use the VIP table, here's your bottle service, here's all these." And that's where I start looking at my soul like, "How am I any better?" Frank I'm going to point the fingers to you, he's drug dealer. I'm a drug dealer and I love your money and if I really have an issue with anybody selling any kind of drug whether it's cannabis, cocaine or whatever, then if you know they are selling it, you should reject their money when it comes to your business but nobody does.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: Somebody goes to Georgia or Oman who wants to buy a $20,000 suit, so I go ahead and say, Oh how are you going to pay? Cash. No problem, we'll take your cash. Or you want to buy a new car? I know guys who worked through the car dealership where I grew up that they got $50,000 in cereal boxes. One of my buddy's was an account processor; he'd get it and would just like, "Oh my God, what do I do with this?" And then they're like, "Put it here there's a form, do this and we'll slowly put into the bank account." Totally knowing where the money is coming from but that's the thing is. Okay if you have such issue with this industry, don't accept the money but every business does. So I think every business it's just as guilty. If they are going to point a finger and say that they're bad, then they should deny that business from their work but they don't.

Matthew: That's a good point. Can you tell us a little bit about TAG and how people could organize a screening?

Adam: Yeah. TAG is still going on now and I'm glad you brought that up because people think to think because now with the film is out on Vimeo, that oh what's the point of TAG? But TAG, TAG is a platform where if you or anybody in the United States, and sadly it's only in the United States for now. Once they organize the satirical screening, you log on like Facebook it's free not an intricate as Facebook to put I think an email and a password and a full name and maybe not even that. And then they will give you, you put in your zip code and then they'll give you a list of feeders that TAG works with and then you can pick a feeder.

You pick a backup feeder and you pick a date that works for you, how to organize a feeder to do all the heavy lifting and then they'll come back to you and say okay, in order for the screening to happen, you need to sell 70 tickets. You sell 70 tickets and you just bought the Culture High to your home theater for you and your local community to watch. The best part is if you don't hit the ticket threshold, no problem, nobody gets charged and the screening simply doesn't happen, it's that easy, like Kickstarter, it's all or nothing but it's the but, if you do make it happen, which means it's about 70 tickets. Which if you think about it, that's five of your friends selling five or 10 of your friends selling five tickets each and your pretty much there.

Matthew: Right.

Adam: You've got a local screening and you've got the best platform to see this movie because this movie was shot cinematically for the big screen, it plays best in there. We spend 21,000 on our sound so that's 5.1 Dolby digital sounds. It's 5.1 surround, it's made to theater and watching with your local community it's really the best way to experience it and to reward you for doing that and putting that together, you 5% of the ticket sales. And on top of that if you want to you can add a fundraiser function, where people can pay an extra dollar or two for every ticket and how to raise money for your local charity, maybe drug policy or awareness group or whatever on top of the event. So, anyone can do it, literally like I've had friends that hosted and in 24 hours they'd sold it out.

Well it's a great platform and even though it's already out on Vimeo, it doesn't matter because films like ours don't get a large, you don't get this giant commercial budget to be on your TV and all this places for advertisement. So, a lot of people you are going to invite won't know that's already out, right, so when you do the screening and they go after, "Man, where can I get this film?" I loved or maybe they didn't like it but they're like where can we find out more, and you're like actually it's available right now. So you doing a screening in your local community it's like kind of like the commercial for your local community that's it's coming out. And it gives you great opportunity that if you want to bring awareness to this issue, watching it in a full theater with your community is the best way for it to make an impact.

Matthew: I agree, that's such a cool; I'm pretty new to TAG that's sounds like a great tool.

Adam: I'm just waiting for it to go worldwide because it's so good, I love it, it doesn't cost to view anything and it gives them the opportunity, 5% is not a lot but the part that's cool about it for me is like I said earlier in this interview. Watching the film with an audience and seeing them being moved or react to it is so inspiring; it's what keeps us battling through despite how hard this industry is. And if you can get to be the filmmaker for a day where you get to host it and you get to say like, "Hey, I'm the young guy, I'm just out of high school, I'm in high school I organized this and made it happen." That's pretty cool.

Nowadays where there's a film maker you into and you can reach out and touch him in offense, you can say I want this work to come to my local theatre and you reach out, pull it, make it happen and it happens right, and then you get rewarded with 5% and you can call it your event. You can call it 'Stoner Jesus, Jesus Possessed' right, and you can make it whatever you want, it's your event for the night, it's not about us. It's your event so you can go up and thank the community and everything, it's awesome.

I love that people get that opportunity and that's why I'm in Houston but Buddy Robert put one together, he sold it out in 12 hours, he has a really cool broadcasting community down here, it's awesome to see him like so excited. You just met with a theater, they got into this beautiful brand new theater in Houston, they sold it out twice, they had to put it into a bigger venue and he so excited because its podcast presents and he gets to be the host and a film maker for a day, it's awesome. And it is like I said I can't stress enough it is the best way to see the film because if you want people to really as you've seen it, this film because it captures so quick, because we're hitting in so much information. If you distracted and you check your twitter and you look away and then you look back, you'll miss the section then later on you're like I don't get it and the film whatever you thought it was, this film is not a film where you can miss 10 minutes.

Matthew: Yeah.

Adam: They really throw things off and the only way now it is because people seem to be so all over the place to really get their attention, is in the theater. You're going to have to shut that damn phone off for a little bit right, and actually pay attention and when they go through the ride of the film with the theater, it will have way bigger impact than just trying to send them the DVD or get them to watch a link.

Matthew: Good points. And the lighting is amazing; you really did a good job on that.

Adam: We stepped up. We wanted to make sure that and that's the funny thing if you can tell some of our, and like I said, overall the critics have been great but the few of the negative critics, the one thing they can't knock us on, it's the quality of the film. That was even the LA Times said, he's like hey that Brett Harvey has his lighting and cinematography down! Looks amazing but then he went on to say some other negative shit. He couldn't knock us there right, he's like our cinematography and everything else was really good, so we did what we could.

Matthew: As we close, how can people follow you Adam?

Adam: Please go to my twitter, which is just @adamscoreG like a goal with a big G, a-d-a-m-s-c-o-r-e-G, you can go to The Culture High and follow that on twitter or you can Google either the Union of business behind getting high or The Culture High, they're both on Facebook. I'm really interactive with all of them, as you know you reach out connect your twitter and we connected I'm pretty, it's getting tougher these days, but I'm pretty respondent so if you want to reach out to me, I'm there.

Matthew: Awesome. Thanks so much Adam. We really appreciate this and again the film is The Culture High.

Adam: No problem. Thanks for having me on.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us review on iTunes, every five star review helps us to bring the best guest to you. Learn more at One of the five disruptive trends that will shape the cannabis industry in the next five years. Find out with your free report at That's C-A-N-N-A Have a suggestion for an awesome guest at Email us We'd love to hear from you.