Lady Buds Invites Lawmakers to Learn and Discuss Legalization

The Origins Council is hosting a screening of the documentary Lady Buds as well as a discussion afterwards with the folks featured.

Lady Buds follows the stories of six woman cannabis business owners transitioning from California’s medical cannabis law (Proposition 215) to the recreational cannabis industry (Proposition 64) back in 2018, when that overwhelming change was first taking place. The film spotlights Sue Taylor, Chiah Rodriques, Felicia Carbajal, Karyn Wagner, and The Bud Sisters (Pearl Moon and Dr. Joyce Centofanti) and spotlights the diverse challenges they experience not just as small business owners, but women in the cannabis industry.

Origins Council Executive Director Genine Coleman shared her excitement for the film and what this event has in store for viewers. “Lady Buds is both a joyous and difficult film to watch because you are rooting so strongly for the six women to succeed. For various reasons related to the vagaries and restrictions of the compliant cannabis industry here in California, each woman has a vastly different experience,” said Coleman. “In that way, Lady Buds transcends the traditional documentary film model by providing a very clear explanation of the challenges on the path to success for all who wish to participate legally in our industry, whether by farming or selling or both.”

Chiah Rodriques, Courtesy of Lady Buds

The film will be presented at the historic Crest Theatre in Sacramento, California on Monday, April 25. For this particular event, 60% of ticket sales will go toward Origins Council to help continue support for rural cannabis producing communities. This move highlights the documentary’s commitment to visibility and support in the cannabis industry. 

Coleman will join cannabis cultivator Rodrigues, activist Carbajal, and Lady Buds producer Michael Katz for the discussion portion of this event. California Senator John Laird and Assemblymembers Mia Bonta and Jim Wood will also be co-hosting the event. According to a press release, the post-film talk is expected to “a lively discussion of the issues it raises around California’s bumpy road towards a compliant cannabis industry.” 

It will also cover some of the promising cannabis legislation that is being introduced for 2022, such as “proposals to eliminate the cultivation tax, provide limited opportunity direct to consumer special event sales, establish a framework for interstate commerce, and move the conversation forward on licensing reforms that are desperately needed.”

The Bud Sisters, Courtesy of Lady Buds

Coleman added that Lady Buds is more relevant than ever, as we see the cannabis industry continue to shift toward larger corporations with less and less control in the hands of smaller movers and shakers. Today, although there are more women and people of color in the industry, things are still not truly equitable. 

“This event is a unique opportunity to educate and inform state policy makers on the realities facing small, legacy cannabis cultivators and independent non-cultivation cannabis businesses that are finding it more and more challenging to remain in the regulated industry,” Coleman said. “Prop. 64 promised to provide a pathway for existing operators to move into a new system of compliance, and Lady Buds provides unique insight into the results of those promises.”

Lady Buds released in November 2021, and as of March 1, 2022 is available to stream on Starz. Recently, Lady Buds Director Chris J. Russo announced that the film has inspired two new projects: a comedy feature and a non-scripted cannabis series, which will feature one of the women in Lady Buds, Sue Taylor, in her life as a business owner. 

“I couldn’t be happier to know that my film Lady Buds is inspiring adaptations that will allow me to continue to support and tell the stories of these courageous, pioneering women,” said Russo. “Along with the exciting acquisition by Starz, which is the perfect home to showcase this film that explores women empowerment and social justice, it’s all a dream come true.”

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