WEED THE PEOPLE takes an unflinching look at the underground world of cannabis medicine, where patients become experts on their own conditions and spend thousands of dollars on federally illegal medicines.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more compelling than in the treatment of children, who are ignorant of the stigma of medical marijuana and whose parents will stop at nothing to help them.
Weed The People looks beyond the propaganda and politics on both sides of the issue to reveal the legitimate science behind cannabis medicine and the compelling stories of ordinary people whose lives are inescapably caught up in the controversy.
Weed The People is a truly collaborative work, featuring some truly remarkable people and their inspirational stories.
Optic Pathway Glioma
In July 2013 new parents Tracy and Josh Ryan received the devastating news that their 7-month-old baby Sophie had an inoperable brain tumor. The doctors prescribed chemotherapy as the only course of treatment, but could not guarantee it would work. Tracy Ryan felt intuitively that western medicine alone would not be enough to save her daughter. After intensive research, the Ryans began Sophie on a regimen of medicinal cannabis oils, hoping for a miracle.
Sophie has an optic pathway giloma brain tumor which traditionally results in minimal to no shrinkage with chemo alone, and the tumors never go away. What you are seeing are identical brain slices of Sophie's tumor. The scan on the left is from 10/2013 and the scan on the right is from 6/2014! Sophie is taking high doses of both THC and CBD, along with Chemo and both her tumor and cyst are almost gone!!!
Look what happened to her tumor in just 8 months.
In November 2012, Chico discovered that he had one very large swollen tonsil. Then 10 years old, he enjoyed life to the full, loved skateboarding, dirt biking and soccer. At first the doctors thought he had a regular throat infection, then a swelling started to appear on the side of his neck. On December 20th 2012 he went to UCLA where his doctor had sent him for a second opinion.
The specialist there took one look at his scan and immediately called in the pediatric oncologists and admitted him into the hospital. the doctors revealed that Chico had a very rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. The tumor was inoperable, so as time was of the essence, that very day he started chemotherapy - a harsh regimen that was to last for 43 weeks.
Halfway through his grueling chemotherapy regime, Chico's mother Angela read about cannabis oil and began administering it to him. Now cancer-free, Chico struggles to overcome the damage from chemo and uses cannabis to prevent a recurrence of his cancer.
Medical Cannabis Expert
Mara founded Aunt Zelda's Oil after experiencing firsthand the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
Her involvement with cannabis began as a patient. After a painful disability necessitated leaving her career as head of Methodology at a Fortune 50, Mara suffered under medical treatment and 26 pharmaceuticals in California and Colorado. Understanding what cannabis can do, and how it's done, is Mara's passion. Helping other patients is her commitment.
Now she has patients driving thousands of miles to seek out her Aunt Zelda's oils and extracts. Just your typical Jewish grandmother, (right!) Mara and husband Stewart are cannabis experts who provide the highest quality medicine to patients of all ages.
Producer & Director
Ricki Lake is an American actress, producer, and Emmy Award-winning television host. She is best known for her talk show which was broadcast internationally. In recent years Ricki has focused on producing films and shows. The Business of Being Born was Lake's first documentary (with Abby Epstein) about home birth and midwifery, was released in 2008. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and Red Envelope released the film in New York, L.A. and San Francisco in October. The Business of Being Born included footage and details of Lake's own "life-changing" home-birthing experience and followed a midwife going about her work. Tribeca praised the film calling it it "The Inconvenient Truth of Childbirth".
After years as a theater director, Abby Epstein has transitioned into being one of the most important new female voices in documentary film. Epstein began directing plays in the 1980s in Chicago where she started her own theater company, Roadworks Productions. In the late 1990s, she relocated to New York to helm the highly successful Broadway musical RENT. Notable amongst numerous other credits is her involvement with Eve Ensler's seminal The Vagina Monologues, which she directed during its New York run as well as its North American tour. Until the Violence Stops, her documentary about the global impact of Ensler's play, marked Epstein's move into filmmaking. It premiered at Sundance in 2004 and won an Emmy after screening on Lifetime.
The creative partnership of Ricki & Abby has flourished since The Business of Being Born with recent documentaries such as Sweetening the Pill and of course Weed The People.
We began shooting a year ago, and the filming itself is about 30% complete. There are additional amazing stories we want to include to film, but in order to do that we need to secure the funding to complete the film. That's why we are are here.
We hope to have a finished cut of the film by next spring, so the release will likely happen in late 2015 or early 2016.
Your money will go towards the production costs for documenting these incredible stories; these include film editing, music, graphics and post production needed to finish the film.
Yes! So far Ricki has been the sole backer of this film, spending over $75K on production costs as well as covering travel and medical expenses for some of the film's subjects.
"As a parent of teenage boys I've always been wary of marijuana, yet two years ago my husband's search for alternative therapies for his grandfather opened my eyes to the healing potential of this plant. I learnt about the medicinal benefits of cannabis and was outraged that our country is actually holding up clinical research because of outdated policies. Any one of us, or our loved ones, could one day benefit form this research, so we need to fight for it!"
Absolutely! This film could be the game changer that pushes medical marijuana into the mainstream. Once the public sees the true power of cannabis to fight cancer and other diseases, the demand for reclassification and clinical trials will reach a tipping point. We saw this happen with our last film The Business of Being Born as midwifery continues to enjoy a resurgence.
We are offering various investment packages to potential investors starting from $25,000. Options include return of initial investment based on sales of the film, % return on investment options depending on financial input or even naming the investors as part of the production team.
Donations are essential to reach our overall target to make this film possible. Starting at $10,000 your donation will be a tax deductible and we will present you with a receipt. Donations over $15,000 will be named in a special "Personal Thanks To:" at the end of the film credits. WTP is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit charity in the US.
We are open to talking to all possible partners and sponsors to help make this film possible. Brands can offer products or services to help reduce our overall budgetary requirements allowing for a smoother production process. Examples of possible partners can include: airlines, car hire companies and hotel chains.