Describing herself as a “gypsy pirate filmmaker,” Windy Borman moved to Colorado in 2014, the same year that cannabis became legal in that state. Although she herself had never even picked up a joint, let alone smoked one, she was not blind to the plant’s influence on her new home — she even noticed that one stretch in Denver was nicknamed “The Green Mile” due to its ample pot dispensaries. Yet what really sparked Borman’s interest in cannabis was a statistic, one that largely led her to create the documentary “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed.”

As Borman explains in an early scene in her film, 36 percent of the senior leadership in the cannabis industry is comprised of women. That’s well above the national average of 22 percent and even further above the lowly 12 percent seen in the financial district. Armed with this knowledge, she then set about interviewing numerous women involved in the cannabis field.

She even managed to snag an interview with Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, who, because of her own bout with breast cancer, became (in Borman’s words) “a passionate medical marijuana advocate.”

Watch the trailer
Mary Janes: The Women of Weed

(Breaking the Grass Ceiling)

Get your tickets here!

Charlotte – Feb. 5

$11 per ticket

Chapel Hill – March 7

$11 per ticket, though if you’d like to throw in a little extra to support Carolina Cannabis News‘ efforts we’ll hook you up with a gift!

In addition to exploring the role of women in this arena, Borman also had another ambition with this film. Believing the three biggest problem areas in today’s society relate to gender parity, racial justice and environmental sustainability, she set out to discover how all three can be tied back to marijuana.

But Borman isn’t done yet, as she also chooses to use the film to address her own personal beliefs on the subject. As someone who grew up in a family of addicts (both alcohol-related and drug-related) while surrounded by “This is your brain on drugs” PSAs and “Just say no” finger-wagging by Nancy Reagan, Borman spent her own life staying away from pot.

But now she has finally decided to confront and possibly puncture the stereotypes surrounding marijuana. Knowing, for instance, that it’s being used for medicinal purposes, she logically asks, “If this is truly a gateway to addiction, why are we giving it to vulnerable people?”

[Video: In her own words: Windy Borman, director of Mary Janes: The Women of Weed]

Clearly, Borman has plenty of food for thought on her plate, but she succeeds in allowing each topic enough time to marinate in viewers’ minds. Her film is at its best when the interview subjects — the various “ganjapreneurs” — describe the challenges they face, particularly from an oppressive U.S. government that won’t even allow a proper study of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

“I don’t view myself as pro-cannabis; I view myself as pro-research,” explains Dr. Sue Sisley, President of the Scottsdale Research Institute. “If I wanted to study the harms of marijuana, I would have all the government dollars that I needed. But if you dare say you wanted to study the efficacy of marijuana, those are the studies systematically impeded by government.”

[Read: OpED: Dr. Sue Sisley MD of Arizona claps back at S.C. AG & others opposed to medical marijuana]

Interestingly, there’s another group that’s revealed to be almost as wary of cannabis as the government. As noted by Karen O’Keefe, Director of States Policies with the Marijuana Policy Project, “Historically, unfortunately, women have been less likely to support marijuana legalization than men.”

Adds Sabrina Fendrick, Director of Government Affairs with the Berkeley Patients Group, “So the way we keep mama happy and get mom aboard, is to educate them about how it is not going to be detrimental to their children and their community.”

Over the course of speaking with all these strong-willed and conscientious women, Borman ends up coining a new term (and hashtag): “Puffragette,” given to women (and men) in the cannabis industry who are striving for positive change in the aforementioned areas of gender parity, racial justice, and environmental sustainability. It’s an empowering name in an industry primarily focused on the female cannabis plant.

As Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, Founder/CEO of New Frontier Data, explains, “This is an industry where everyone is starting from scratch, men and women. So there is no glass ceiling since we’re building it together.”

“Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 5, at Studio Movie Grill in the Epicenter. The event will include introductions, the film screening and a post-film Q&A session with Charlotte’s own Women in Weed. Tickets cost $11 and may be obtained here. (See Facebook event page for more information.)  This event hosted by Creative Canna Productions.

Next week: Look for more information on the Raleigh screening, on March 7 in honor of Women History Month. You can pre-order tickets now. As with the Charlotte screening, a minimum number of tickets must be purchased for the screening to take place. The Raleigh screening also serves as a fundraiser for Carolina Cannabis News.

Matt Brunson

Matt Brunson

Film Critic

Longtime Charlotte-based movie critic.