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By admin | January 26, 2010


Reefer Madness

Susan Boyd, PhD
Studies in Policy and Practice, Faculty of Human and Social Development
University of Victoria
January 27, 2010 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
HSD A373
Research Conversations

Presentation Synopsis:
The independent US film, Reefer Madness, is a fictional full-length feature about marijuana
use and selling that has grown in cult status since it was produced in 1936.
Drawing from critical and feminist criminology, sociology, and cultural studies, this
presentation provides an analysis of Reefer Madness and a number of other fictional
films with a focus on marijuana. It is worthwhile to analyze films about marijuana, not
just to explore the stigmatization of users, but to examine the social/political effects
of these films, particularly the ways that certain kinds of negative images support
drug regulation and its attendant policing. The significance of a century of film representations
that reinforce a link between marijuana use, immorality, and crime is discussed.
It appears that these themes are quite enduring.
Dr. Susan Boyd is a professor in Studies in Policy and Practice at the University of Victoria.
She is the author of Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the U.S.; From
witches to crack moms: Women, drug law, and policy; Mothers and Illicit Drugs: Transcending
the myths, co-author of Raise Shit! Social action saving lives, and co-editor of
With child: Substance use during pregnancy: A woman-centred approach. Her research
interests include: drug policy, maternal drug use, film and print media representations,
women in conflict with the law, and research methodologies.

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