RxCannabis show player

Watch all 4 clipisodes and the trailer below!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Clipisode 4 – Neil

Neil is one of the "stars" of "RxCannabis" – you can catch him in the
trailer. In this clipisode, he talks about his accident, and then
about his dream of walking again.

He is one person who really benefited from the medical marijuana
dispensaries in San Diego County (all of which were closed by the DEA
last July). It made it easy for him to get the medicine that helps him
so much. Now, he has to ask friends to get him cannabis, which usually
gets him low-grade street marijuana.

You can check out Neil's day-to-day on his Myspace.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is it the drug or the person?

I’m looking at a pile of tapes about drug abuse and addiction.

The two sides tell TOTALLY different stories. One side says marijuana is not a big deal, or that it’s about the RELATIONSHIP between you and the drug--which can be okay, or fucked up. The other that MJ is that classic “gateway” to stronger drugs that will lay waste to your life.

On the, uh, far right side of the ring are John and Roger. Both work in prevention. John tells about how he was addicted to cannabis and other drugs; Roger about the tragedy of his two stepchildrens’ descent into abuse. Roger has a big loud dog that attacked my car when I went to visit him.

On the left side I’m looking at tapes of Rick Doblin, who directs MAPS, the
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies;
Ryan (Tori’s teen son, who says marijuana is uncool, and that he’s not tempted by it being around the house); and Brittany, an astute 18-yr old patient.

It’s SO easy for me to dislike the prevention folks. They have a whiff of being Christian, of puritanism (if it feels good, it’s gotta be bad!), of being all the things I love to hate.

And it's SO easy for me to feel comfortable with the cannabis folks. Ryan, Tori’s son (you can see both of them in the trailer below), talks about when he and his mom break their vegan routine with a “dairy exception”, they get pizza from a great “family owned small business, way better than corporate pizza, Dominoes, etc.”

Somewhere in the middle, are two tapes with young women from ShaktiRising, a progressive treatment organization. ShaktiRising doesn’t demonize drugs, but takes a more holistic, almost New Age (yoga, massage, self love) view of treatment for their recovering addicts.

Watch for clips or a webisode on all this in the next few days. Aloha...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New videos online

We've posted some new videos with some interactive features that you can watch at www.rxcannabis.pbwiki.com. More to come soon...

If you click on "comments" at the bottom of the player, you can add text, audio or video comments into the video!

This player allows you to edit your own version-just click "edit" on the bottom right to try it out.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cannabis & Chronic Pain. Prevention. Addiction. ???

Okay. Just to sum up—over the last 10 months we’ve shot over 125 hours of footage for our feature film “RxCannabis”, about the struggle for medical marijuana. We’re now busy editing, making webisodes, and basically reaching out for feedback from you to help shape our direction from here.

The microcosm of our story is San Diego, where the forces, both pro and anti, are particularly strong for some reason. Since July, 2006, the Feds (with big guns) closed down ALL medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego County, which means that over 3000 patients need to either get their cannabis “on the streets”, or make a 3 hour drive to a dispensary in LA County or beyond….

Craig, featured in the last posted clip (Webisode 1 – “Craig vs. Bill”) has become the protagonist of the whole story. He’s just a regular guy with a family to support. He’s in almost constant pain from his spine being crushed in an industrial accident. The San Diego County government wants to make it harder for Craig to get and use medical marijuana to treat his pain, but Craig has been fighting back.

My first meeting with Craig was in his shop – Old Toy Soldier Home - which is a whole amazing world – check out his site and buy some soldiers! You can see a lot of shots of his soldiers in Webisode 1.

Where are we headed next? The next tapes I’ll be editing will be about “the other side”, and about that slippery concept “addiction”. You’ll meet John, who ironically, works in a “prevention” organization about 10 minutes from Craig’s store!

My sympathies are obviously on Craig’s side, but as a documentary filmmaker, I need to at least TRY to “love all my characters” (otherwise it’ll just be all propaganda). I’m trying….help me – have you had experiences with cannabis addiction? Is it the drug or the person?? What do we do when one group swears by cannabis, and the other thinks it’s the devil incarnate???? Here’s an interesting site on cannabis pros and cons.

Till next time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The DEA hits again

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A friend of mine is a cannabis doctor in Southern Cal. His son is a patient, uses it for severe back pain.
My friend told me last week his son—I'll call him John—and daughter-in-law were fast asleep, 7 a.m., when the front door of their house was battered down. Seven DEA agents burst in, guns of all sizes drawn. They immobilized John.

The agents searched the house. Finding John's grow room (as a patient, he can legally grow up to nine plants), they tore out the flowering plants, stuffing them in black trash bags. There was one local cop there, which by law there has to be during raids. According to John, his head was down, looking embarrased during the whole thing.

They didn't charge John with anything. As they left, one of them turned to John, grinned and said, "We know about your father".

The kicker is, my friend and his son are (of course) freaked out. So freaked out they don't want to tell me their story on camera, even if I black out their faces.
That's the effect of the fear that the DEA is spreading. Scares people into silence.

I'm still working on my friend and his son. I'll even process John's voice so it's unrecognizable. We'll see…

PS: If you want to buy a DEA mug, golf balls or other necessary paraphernalia, check out their
product page.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Back to California

Back to California

I'm finally headed back to California to continue shooting "RxCannabis". I shot for three months last summer, getting over 80 hours of footage. You can see more about the project at www.myspace.com/harveystein. There is a full screen trailer at http://rxcannabis.blip.tv/.

First stop this trip was the ASA (Americans for Safe Access) Conference, in Burbank. According to their website, "the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research." Their website is full of information--political, medical, legal.

ASA is the largest service organization for medical marijuana patients, both in the 11 states where it's currently legal (for seriously ill patients), and in those where it's not, but people risk their freedom to use it medicinally anyway.

The Conference, at the Pickwick Gardens Conference Center, was inspiring and fun. Yes, there were some people who looked like stoners, but there were others in short hair, and even a few in suits. Workshops on activism and media messaging. Booths full of books, hemp products, bumper stickers.

Just like at any other conference, there was free swag, piled in the center of each table. Everyone's favorite--edibles! Before you laugh, remember that some medical marijuana patients must ingest their medicine several times a day. Smoking is the quickest method, but hard on the throat.

There were samples of rice crispy treats, peanut butter cups, truffles, and cherry-flavored tea. These are the edibles which people (usually law enforcement, or members of the "prevention community") freak out about--saying it's proof the medical marijuana industry is targeting our vulnerable children.

Which leads us to an article from yesterday's NYTimes, Anywhere the Eye Can See, It's Likely to See an Ad.If the article goes offline, I posted my two favorite images from it below. Ads for CBS fall shows stamped onto eggs, and ads for Children's Tylenol, printed into the paper sheets and paper pillow cases on pediatricians' examining tables.

The main ingredient in Tylenol is acetominaphen, which is in 100s of over-the-counter drugs, as well as dozens of prescription ones. The only problem is acetominaphen poisoning has become the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. (about 500 deaths yearly). Many consumers don't realize they're overdosing on acetaminophen, because the FDA (the same FDA that refuses to acknowledge that marijuana has any medicinal uses at all) doesn't require that over-the-counter medicines containing acetaminophen to state so on the front of the package.

I think on a deeper, unconscious level, the prevention people freak out because a marijuana candy bar--even if legally available only to qualified patients--is the ultimate symbol that marijuana has been accepted into our "system". That it's been legitimized. And they're right in a way: If a product is allowed to enter the marketplace, then it's out of control, coming right at ya, from every direction.

That's the story. What do you think?