The new documentary film Science vs. Stigma does a wonderful thing: It puts a human face on some of the collateral damage from the War On Drugs. The film does this by allowing medical marijuana patients to share their struggles to safely access an unjustly demonized medicinal herb that helps them.
True stories and scientific research reveal the difficult lives of patients who require the ancient medicinal plant, cannabis, which is now legal in some states, but still so demonized that it cannot even be named in an advertisement.
The medicinal components of cannabis have been shown to be effective in treating dozens of conditions, but patients who are ill and disabled are still senseless persecuted and socially stigmatized.
Directed by Witchgrass author Dave Wilkinson, Science vs. Stigma presents scientific evidence from a compassionate physician (Dr. Dustin Sulak) to support the stigmatized plant’s effectiveness, along with patients, politicians, activists, legislative hearings, and the Maine Medical Marijuana Expo.
Science vs. Stigma was written by Wilkinson along with Ron Norton and Marilyn Taylor, and was produced by Norton and Paul Maguire.
Norton and Maguire head up Maine Green Cross, a patient care organization in Harpswell. Wilkinson is on the Maine Green Cross board; all are patients.
Director Dave Wilkinson: “Science vs. Stigma is the story of the short era of forced patient registration in Maine, and the activism that brought it to an end”
”While Maine has led the East in setting up a caregiver/dispensary system, many issues remain,” Wilkinson told Toke of the Town Monday night. “Some of our friends had been mistreated by the police and VA. Others had problems finding a doctor, or a caregiver. Many cannot afford $400 an ounce for an easily-grown plant.
“Following the Governor’s Task Force, patients were being required to register or become instantly illegal on January 1, 2011,” Wilkinson told us. “Science vs. Stigma is the story of the short era of forced patient registration in Maine, and the activism that brought it to an end.”
According to Wilkinson, Maine Green Cross decided to make a film in the spring of 2011. “Director of a weekly show on Public TV, with two Emmy nominations, I had the tools needed to make a broadcast-quality production,” Dave told us.
Science vs. Stigma is a true D.I.Y. project. “Instead of writing a grant, or finding backers, we just started making the film,” Wilkinson said.
“Ron and Paul set up interviews with patients at their homes,” Wilkinson told us. “Several others were interviewed during the Maine Medical Marijuana Expo. We went to legislative hearings and other events. We got lots of volunteer help.
“As we saw and heard, a powerful sense of history informed us,” Wilkinson said. “In these humble beginnings lay the seeds of a new medical and economic order. While the media chuckles and the public sleeps, a few people are a starting to take down the high cost, inequality, and danger of the U.S. medical system.
“More than this,” Wilkinson told me, “they are addressing the major human rights crisis in America: epidemic incarceration.”
Dave said the entire Science vs. Stigma team is hoping the film will reach beyond “the choir” to the medical community and the public at large.
“By avoiding the usual cliches, we hope to contribute our story to the larger tale that is being told,” Wilkinson told us.
To order your own DVD copy of Science vs. Stigma for $14.95 plus shipping, click here.
|Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) is one of the best friends marijuana patients and advocates ever had in the U.S. Congress.|