“Weed the People,” a documentary from director Abby Epstein and executive producer Ricki Lake, is all about the tension between the medical cannabis industry and the existing federal legislation that prohibits the full exploration of the plant’s efficacy. Although 33 states, four U.S. territories and the District of Columbia have passed laws that allow qualified patients to use marijuana to treat various conditions, there are still lots of states where people don’t have any legal access to a treatment that could save their lives.
The passion project, which was six years in the making, seeks to answer a central question that many people in the medical cannabis industry wonder: If weed is truly saving lives, why doesn’t the government want people to access it? It’s a tug-of-war between life and death, highlighting those suffering from conditions that require treatment and living under a government that won’t acknowledge cannabis’s healing power enough to remove it from being considered a Schedule I substance along with acid, heroin, ecstasy and bath salts.
Epstein and Lake utilize the intimate stories of families who bravely share their struggles and triumphs to challenge the notion of what makes something medicine versus what makes it a drug. At about 90 minutes running time, “Weed the People” is moving and appropriately dramatic, without exaggerating the gravity of each tragic and heart-wrenching situation.
Published: May 16, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News