Gone are the days when 18-year-old stoners and white men in business suits were the voices behind cannabusiness - at least if Windy Borman has her way.
Borman is the director of the soon-to-be-released film Mary Janes: The Women of Weed. The film chronicles the state of cannabis legalization in the U.S., but from women’s perspectives.
Far from simply creating a film about weed, Borman aims to delve into the intermarriage between cannabis and environmentalism, gender parity, and social justice. She’s traveling around the U.S. to all five states in which cannabis is legal, as well as states that are on the cusp of legalization. She says her goal is to add to the national cannabis discussion in a way that supports those not currently given enough voice on the subject.
“Instead of having rich white men come in and create yet another industry,” she explains, “I would really like to see women, people of colour, and LGBTQ business owners supported.”
This only makes sense, given the huge role HIV/AIDS patients played in gaining medical marijuana access during the AIDS epidemic, and also seeing as how communities of colour have been disproportionately charged and jailed under federal drug laws for marijuana-related charges. The only way to restore justice when it comes to those communities and cannabis, she says, is to have them actually calling the shots.
The 90-minute film will feature interviews with about 40 women from a variety of backgrounds, including doctors, lawyers, Congresswomen, and patients. They’ll speak to the ways in which the laws have affected their communities and to the benefits of decriminalization.
“Everybody we interviewed believes that prohibition just needs to end,” Borman says.
“State by state the tide is turning, and the federal government just needs to end the drug war completely and de-schedule cannabis. This is the biggest failure of a policy we’ve ever had, so why sink any more money into something that isn’t working?”
Though Borman is hoping for the change in laws to continue spreading across the remaining states, she acknowledges this will be a gradual process that will likely begin with decriminalization, move toward medical access, and then eventually on to legal recreational use from there.
There’s a 30-day crowdfunding campaign going on right now with proceeds going to fund the final leg of the film. Borman hopes the final product will be set to premiere at film festivals in spring 2017.
To learn more about the project, check out the Mary Janes trailer, which features many of the women who will be in the full-length documentary.