Through superb storytelling that includes dramatic re-creations and compelling firsthand interviews, Orange Sunshine paints the fascinating true story of a group of hippies and surfers in the 1960s and ’70s who found spiritual enlightenment by taking massive quantities of LSD.
After several acid trips, the group decides that it’s their mission in life to make psychedelic drugs available to as many people as possible, with the hopes of achieving world peace. They called themselves The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and eventually became the largest supplier of psychedelic drugs on the planet.
The documentary itself is so well laid out, it would almost be a disservice to reveal any more details than already mentioned. As one could imagine, federal law enforcement got involved and you can guess what happened next.
“There are so many incredible stories, the film to me almost felt like a greatest hits,” said the Director, William Kirkley. “With so much of this being based off of [The Brotherhood’s] friendships and relationships, I felt that’s what made them unique as drug smugglers.”
Although the tale of The Brotherhood has long been known to storytellers interested in weaving its tale, Orange Sunshine is the first time the story has made it to the screen. It also marks the first time that two of the founding members, Michael Randall and Carol Griggs, have gone on camera to talk about everything that happened. “They were fiercely protective of [their past]. It took about seven years of talking to everybody around them and getting to know them.” Kirkley added that ultimately they saw that he was not interested in sensationalizing the story, so they eventually got on board with the idea.
One of the substances distributed in massive quantities by The Brotherhood was cannabis. So what do the remaining members of The Brotherhood of Eternal Love think of the wave of cannabis reform sweeping across the world? In an interview with Marijuana.com, Michael and Carol gave their thoughts on the end of prohibition and where we go from here.
“I am certainly happy that California passed legalized marijuana,” said Randall with enthusiasm.
Randall and Griggs are humble people by all accounts, but they are aware that their efforts in distributing massive quantities of pot and LSD in previous decades helped usher society into ending the war on drugs as it is happening today. If these drugs were not available in such mass quantities at the time The Brotherhood was in business, not as many people would have experienced their positive, life-altering qualities. “We distributed not just marijuana but LSD. LSD is a life-changer for people and we had a hand in that.”
Both of them believe that LSD should also be legal, but under restricted circumstances and taken in the right environment. “We’ve created a guidebook for people to get the real benefits of a psychedelic experience by being in nature and being more quiet [for example]. It shouldn’t be taken in a party atmosphere with alcohol and lots of other drugs.”
Griggs was excited about the marijuana reform that took place in the U.S. on election day but was surprised by a specific group that wasn’t. “All of the growers were against it becoming legal, which blew my mind.” She went on to add that the growers are concerned about taxes and the mountain of regulations that come along with being a legal commodity. “I get that but you have to still look at the bigger picture.”
The bigger picture can be found in the detailed tapestry that is Orange Sunshine. The intricate story touches on love, incredible loss, joy, spiritual awakening, tragedy and ultimate triumph.
Orange Sunshine is now available on iTunes, and if you decide to go on this ride, the experience will be two of the most profound hours you’ll spend this month.
Enjoy your trip.