Weed the People is director Abby Epstein and executive producer Ricki Lake’s timely and compelling documentary about using cannabis oil as an alternative medicine for children with cancer. The film features half a dozen case studies of babies and teens who take this form of medical marijuana to reduce tumors. It is, as one believer states in the film, “not a cure, but an extension of life.”
“It wasn’t my medicine or my cause,” Lake says, “but my husband passed away, and [cannabis] was his passion.”
Marijuana is still classified by the DEA as a Schedule 1 drug, though, as the film notes, the government has a medical patent on marijuana. In America, there has been minimal research on the effects of treating cancer with cannabis—most studies show the negative, not positive effects—but in countries like Israel and Spain, there are encouraging findings about the drug’s healing properties.
Weed the People firmly establishes the drug-policy issue as a human-rights issue and follows several families benefiting from cannabis treatment to track their progress. “We met a little girl who was 30 pounds and six years old,” Lake says, “and this is crazy, but we moved her and her family into our house, and took her to osteopaths and a cannabis doc. Weed the People comes from our personal experience and natural curiosity.”
The film features several women on the front lines, including Mara Gordon, co-founder of Aunt Zelda’s, which creates and sells cannabis oils to patients, and Bonni Goldstein, a medical director at Canna Centers, who lectures on the efficacy of cannabinoid therapy.
It is one of four documentaries Lake has produced on social issues, after The Business of Being Born, Breastmilk and the forthcoming Sweetening the Pill. The film, Lake says, was made “specifically to take the stigma away. It’s not about legalization, regulation or getting high; it’s about children dying of cancer and the heroic docs and scientists putting their time into this.
“There are enough films about drug reform and legalization,” Lake adds. Weed the People “was about the kids and following the stories, and hopefully to get change to happen.”
‘Weed the People’ screens at UA Berkeley 7 on Nov. 3 at 7pm, and again at Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol on Nov. 4 at 2pm. Source: Alternet.