When I first met Chris Williams, a medial marijuana grower in Montana, I was intrigued by his openness and candor. Chris was the young, charismatic co-owner of Montana Cannabis, a medical marijuana growhouse serving hundreds of state-legal patients across Montana. When I first interviewed him in August, 2010 for a documentary film I directed about the impact of Montana’s changing medical marijuana laws, I didn’t know where his story would lead. But as I continued to follow Chris as he offered tours of his growhouse to state law enforcement and community leaders, I had a feeling his story would be important. His efforts to create a model for a responsible, transparent medical marijuana business struck me as uncommon and inspiring in a business clouded by fear, misinformation and suspicion.
Guess all those Town Hall twitterers asking Obama about legalizing marijuana were onto something. About a year ago, Philadelphia pretty much decriminalized possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana by giving offenders the option to enroll in a three-hour class that would expunge the offense from their records. The incident goes down as a summary offense, rather than a misdemeanor. Now, District Attorney Seth Williams estimates the city has saved $2 million over the past year.