Adrien Grenier is still the most familiar face from HBO's "Entourage." And like most celebrities, he's using his fame to tackle real-world subjects about which he's passionate. The new documentary "How to Make Money Selling Drugs," which Grenier produced, disguises a withering rebuke of the War on Drugs and current mandatory minimum sentencing practices in a fun, video game-themed infomercial.
The film starts like an infommercial about actually becoming a drug dealer. How did you and writer-director Matthew Cooke decide on this approach?
This is Matthew's vision. The idea is to have a film that is for the people and in the people's language, that doesn’t talk down to you. We're all well-exposed to a lot of things. We have the Internet, there's Redit, so let's actually speak candidly and honestly about a topic that I think often just gets to be over-didactic and preachy.
So what possible solutions do you think there might be to this massive problem?
A lot of people are looking for solutions, of course. "If this doesn't work, what's the solution?" And I would just say I would really rethink what the problem is. We obviously don't want people to overindulge and become addicted to drugs to the point where it damages them. So that's really a medical problem. If we rethink our policies, the other issue of drug-related crime would decrease if not be eliminated all together. So that really only makes it one problem to deal with, which is addiction.
What do you think of the recent changes in marijuana laws in places like Colorado and Washington?
There's a changing tide. People are sick of laws that are just wrongheaded. It's great to see that there's such reasonable shifts in policy, and I think you're going to see a lot more of that. I think now is the time for us all to start pushing for national change.
Oliver Stone has said he advocated for going even further and decriminalizing cocaine.
I haven't heard specifically about that, but I think everything should be on the table. We have a failed policy for the last 40 years. It's time to be brave enough to make a different mistake. The way it's going now is just not working.
How useful of a deterrent do you think it is for casual drug users to confront them with the violence associated with the drug trade?
If we really want to reduce crime on the streets and if we want to protect our children and protect our neighborhoods and our communities, let's really have a comprehensive support system in place for those that are struggling. These policies really target the weakest members of our society — the poor and those with addictions — and I think we need to judge the strength of our society based on how we deal with the weakest members of our community. Do we do it with brute force and military action and elongated prison sentences? Or do we deal with them with compassion and wisdom, and do we grow so that we can find more advanced medical solutions to some of these problems? I would say the latter.