You can virtually scent the joints littering the display as “The Marijuana Conspiracy” shuffles aimlessly ahead. Set in Canada in 1972, and dramatizing an actual experiment designed to check the results of hashish on younger ladies, this agonizingly gauche film looks like a missed alternative for a searing moral investigation.
Fearing that Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is about to decriminalize weed, a disapproving politician (Derek McGrath) — hoping to show that the drug conjures up laziness and common ethical turpitude — hires a laid-back sociologist (Gregory Calderone) to run the examine. For 98 days, feminine volunteers will probably be confined and ruthlessly monitored whereas inhaling hefty doses of government-sanctioned grass. When not toking, they are going to be paid to weave macramé belts and wall hangings.
Wise viewers is not going to expect an motion film, however “The Marijuana Conspiracy” is worse than inert: It’s shallow and tone-deaf. Attempts to spotlight the sexism and discrimination of the time are both embarrassingly awkward or troublingly facile. Focusing on 5 keen stoners, every with one persona trait and a particular monetary aim apiece — wistful and homeless, perky and commune-bound — the author and director, Craig Pryce, feeds them dialogue creaking with vintage lingo and sticky sentiment. Sitcom-style music bridges bonding classes and confessionals, the workmanlike cinematography underscoring the small-screen vibe.
The film’s objective, nonetheless, stays foggy. The phrase “conspiracy” is within the title — and the movie’s coda signifies that among the examine’s real-life contributors suffered long-term results — but Pryce appears incapable of shaping the battle and ethical outrage his story wants. But then, that will imply killing the thrill.