The Real-Life Story of a Teenage Drug Smuggler, Kid Cannabis is an Inane Celebration


Closing with N.W.A.’s anti-authority anthem “Fuck tha Police,” Kid Cannabis celebrates drug dealing via the real-life story of Nate Norman (Jonathan Daniel Brown), an overweight, nerdy teenage high-school dropout who, in 2005, teamed up with best friend Topher (Kenny Wormald) to smuggle ungodly amounts of marijuana across the Canadian border into Idaho.

Nate does this because he loves weed and hates being poor, and John Stockwell’s film endorses his decision, not because of pot-legalization convictions, but because it sees Nate as a daring entrepreneur assured enough to partner with both a talented supplier (John C. McGinley) and an intimidating investor (Ron Perlman), as well as run his own motley crew of mules. Narrating his saga with grating clichés — “Every chunk of coal wants to be a diamond”; “You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube” — Nate comes across as an insufferably arrogant twerp stupid enough to believe there’s loyalty in the underworld.

Reveling in Nate and company’s rise to power and fall from grace, which also includes a spat with an equally cocky competitor (Aaron Yoo), Kid Cannabis presents its material not as cautionary tale but as celebratory fantasy — which, like Nate’s mom turning a blind eye to her son’s illegal operation, seems to be the by-product of either inanity or excessive THC.