Every year, well over a million movie tickets are sold in American theaters and over 50% of those tickets are purchased by women. Yet somehow, women are only responsible for about 30% of the speaking roles in our films. And even more astonishing is that fact that only 13% of all Hollywood directors are women.
The world we live in has always seemed to favor men more than women. Think about it. Did man really invent the wheel? Did he really discover fire? Could it have been a woman who figured out that a round wheel rolls best? Or a woman who first discovered how to make a spark?
The fact is, we’ll probably never know who can truly be credited with those first discoveries. But, we do know that, since then, women have pioneered plenty of things. Susan B. Anthony founded National Woman’s Suffrage Association and fought for women’s right to vote. Marie Curie was one of the first great female scientists, winning the respect of men through chemistry. Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, just over a year after the first man did.
Today, you can find experienced, professional women in just about every trade, but there is one where girl power seems to predominate. One field where women are not just along for the ride, they’re taking the reins: the cannabis industry.
The Birth of the Puffragette™
The Marijuana Business Daily recently performed a study that found that 36% of leadership positions in the cannabis industry are held by women. That’s much higher than the national average of 22% for other industries. Not only do an astonishing amount of women work in cannabis, they use it too. In fact, High Times reports that 40% of all cannabis users are female. That means that in 2015 alone, 13.1 million women in the United States used marijuana.
So you see, the cannabis industry is full of women; and one filmmaker is going to make sure you know all about it.
Windy Borman is an award-winning director and producer. You may have seen some of her past work. The 10-time award winning “The Eyes of Thailand”? That was Windy.
Now she’s at it again and this time the focus is weed.
Windy has always been intrigued by issues like social justice, environmental protection, and education, but she feels especially passionate about gender equality. She moved to Colorado in 2014, right after recreational marijuana became legal, and began to befriend women who had become rather prominent in the cannabis industry. It was then that she realized that she was in the perfect position to tell their stories. Not only that, but it was also an ideal opportunity to share her belief that a deeper understanding of gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability will mean a better world for everyone.
And so, the Puffragette™ Movement was born and with it came the idea for the weed documentary to end all weed documentaries.
Mary Janes: The Women of Weed
Puffragette™ is a clever combination of pot and suffragette. It’s a noun that Windy uses to describe women (or men) who are working towards gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability within the cannabis industry. The Puffragette™ Movement is one that seeks to end the prohibition of marijuana in the United States, reform the broken criminal justice system, and help gender equality reach its multi-billion dollar potential.
With the cunning moniker of Puffragette™ in hand, and plenty of people ready to join the movement, Windy began work on what might just turn out to be her most groundbreaking documentary yet.
The goal of “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” is to paint a multidimensional portrait of what it really takes to be a woman in the “budding” cannabis industry. It follows Puffragettes™ from all over the country; interviewing them about their combined experience with the medical, legal, technical, scientific, and business sides of the marijuana industry.
In addition to hearing the stories of the Puffragettes™, audiences are treated to anecdotes from authors, doctors, lawyers, patients, Congresswomen, teachers, and legalization advocates who are all doing their part to demystify cannabis and explain what makes the industry tick.
But Windy wanted to dive deeper. She knew that with so many marijuana documentaries out there, hers had to show the audience a perspective they’d never seen before. She needed to create a film that would find an audience, not just in cannabis users, but in the “canna-curious” as well. She wanted to make something that would appeal to those who are proponents of corporate responsibility, in the hopes of changing the national cannabis conversation.
To accomplish this, the film had to do more than cover interesting stories and varied personal opinions. That’s why it will also discuss the evolution of the Cannabis Sativa plant. It will delve into exactly why the DEA claims that marijuana has no known medicinal uses and why they refuse to declassify its Schedule I drug status. It will look at how the War on Drugs created the new “Jim Crow laws” and it will draw parallels between how women influenced the end of alcohol prohibition and how they’re doing the same with cannabis.
Discourse with the Director
Now, when I first started my research for this article, I was confused. How could anybody cover all of that in one documentary? Why would they even try? I couldn’t understand. I didn’t get it.
I had questions; some that could not be answered with research. So when I learned that I would have the opportunity to ask Windy said questions, well, you can imagine just how happy my little writer’s heart was.
Q. Who has inspired you?
- Any passionate change-maker who is fighting the good fight and making the world a better place.
Q. What is your favorite thing about cannabis?
- You can’t talk about cannabis without including gender equality, social justice and environmental sustainability, which happen to be core values of all my films. Additionally, we’re at a critical point in the United States where we have the first female Presidential candidate from a major party, the Black Lives Matter movement, record-setting global temperatures for the second year in a row, and 9 states are voting on marijuana legalization in 2016. “Mary Janes” synthesizes these four vital conversations into a timely documentary about the women shaping the future of an industry.
Q. What made you try this?
- I’m drawn to stories that feature strong female protagonists for personal and political reasons. For an industry that is built around a female plant, it just made sense to produce a film directed by a woman, about women in the cannabis industry, to share a different perspective.
Q. What do you hope will come from this documentary?
- We hope “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” will shape the national cannabis conversation. The country is currently focused on Election 2016, but the long-term goal is and should be federal legalization of cannabis. We know that women are a key voting demographic, so we hope “Mary Janes” will educate and empower them by demystifying cannabis and showing the women like them who are leading the industry.
Q. What do you believe is the most important thing the general public should know about cannabis that most don’t?
- The cannabis movement was built on the back of social justice and compassionate healthcare that came out of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980-90s. The budding cannabis industry can’t lose sight of this as it transitions from activism to industry.
Q. Where do you THINK the cannabis industry will be in five years?
- I think marijuana legalization shares some similarities to the gay marriage movement, in that a majority of states will have to legalize adult use of marijuana before the federal government steps in and finally ends Prohibition. If that can happen in 2 major election cycles (2016 and 2020), we could be there in 5 years.
Q. Where do you HOPE it will be?
- Where I hope we are is we’ve reformed the criminal (in)justice system. We’ve rebuilt trust in communities that are targeted for the majority of drug arrests. And we’re supporting women, people of color, and LGBTQ business owners and involving them in the conversations about how the cannabis industry—and its tax revenue—can help heal these wounds and create a thriving community.
Q. When do you think we will see widespread acceptance of the benefits of cannabis and the end of the fear-mongering surrounding marijuana?
- When the old guard is finally voted out of government and they replace the Czars at the DEA, FDA and DOJ. The Drug War subsidizes their budgets, so they won’t give up their federal funding without a fight. We need new leaders who value human rights, compassionate healthcare and sustainability.
Q. What advice can you give to young women pioneers?
- Don’t ask permission. Believe in yourself. Just start.
Support the Cause; Become a Mary Jane
After scrutinizing Windy’s answers, I realized that this film was made possible because she is an amazing person. But it’s not just Windy. Indeed, everybody who has worked on the film, each Puffragette™, each camera operator, each editor exhibits the utmost in passion, courage, and determination. It is clear that each and every one of those involved have embarked on this undertaking because they want to see this dream realized.
Unfortunately, the dream isn’t a reality just yet. Windy and her team are still finishing up filming and have a lot left to do in terms of production. For “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” to be a true success, she’s going to need the help of people who support her cause.
Now, we’ve only seen the trailer so far, but let there be no doubt about it; “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” is worth supporting. A small donation can go a long way towards fighting the good fight. Are you passionate about gender parity? Donate. Do you feel strongly about marijuana legalization? Donate. Just looking for an interesting documentary for your next smoke sesh? Donate! In fact, if you give before the campaign is over, you’ll be one of the lucky few to get an exclusive “donors only” Mary Janes t-shirt!
Why else should you donate? Because not only does “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” promise to be one of the best documentaries addressing social injustice, gender inequality, and marijuana you’ll ever see, it promises something much more important: hope for real, tangible, attainable change. Visit the film’s Indiegogo page to make your contribution.
If donating isn’t your style but you still want to be involved, never fear. You can help support Windy and her team by:
- Sharing the campaign on your social platforms
- Following the film on Facebook and Twitter
- Including their story on your company’s website or personal blog
- Educate yourself and your friends about the film by visiting the Mary Janes website and signing up for their newsletter
- Show your feelings by throwing on some Puffragette™ swag from the Mary Janes online store (all profits support the film)
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article but even more than that, we hope you make the choice to support the film. “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” will premiere sometime in the spring of 2017. In the meantime, the Mary Janes YouTube channel will be releasing new videos throughout this week! You can also stay tuned to www.MaryJanesFilm.com to learn more about release dates and how you’ll be able to watch the film for yourself.