Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is somewhat busy these days, but it would be interesting to get his take on Muse Entertainment’s excellent new feature-length documentary called Grass Fed about marijuana edibles. Featuring actor-comedian Mike Paterson, it will air on CBC’s Documentary Channel on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 9 pm.
Trudeau has ordered a major overhaul of Canada's criminal justice system that will put a new focus on restorative justice and hatch a priority plan to regulate and legalize pot. He said legalizing marijuana would fix a "failed system" and help "remove the criminal element" linked to the drug.
“I have no plans to send it to Justin Trudeau, but it sure would be cool if he saw it,” Director Ezra Soiferman told me. “Mike is a registered patient in Health Canada’s medical cannabis program and his inspiring journey would be a timely one for our new Prime Minister to see.”
Grass Fed focuses its attention on Paterson, who treats his debilitating back pain by completely changing his health and lifestyle with a marijuana and hemp-infused diet. Soiferman says that the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision last June, which stated that medical marijuana patients must be given access to products other than dried pot, such as cannabis-infused cookies, brownies, oils and tea, will have “a profound effect on our society.”
The legalization of edibles for the 40,000-plus medical marijuana patients across Canada is a momentous step in providing safe and smoke-free alternatives for patients like Paterson, says the director while emphasizing how one must use this carefully and under a doctor’s supervision. In that case edibles can apparently be an effective - and often delicious - part of a patient's lifestyle. “I was truly amazed by the transformation I saw in Mike during the course of shooting,” says Soiferman.
As Paterson exclaims, after biting into one of his wife Monika Schmidt's homemade cannabis-infused delicacies in the film, "Medicine has never tasted so good!"
The documentary opens with Paterson doing standup at the Comedy Nest and telling the audience about his impending activity. We next see him in his home, struggling to get out of bed or even put on his own socks. He is quick to admit that he eats poorly and is overweight. We are quickly introduced to the scale and watch his dramatic weight loss take place. Paterson skypes with a doctor from London, Ontario, who is guiding him and then heads to Tweed, a medical marijuana factory in Smiths Falls, Ontario. What used to be Canada's Hershey chocolate factory is now the largest cannabis factory in Canada. Paterson is disappointed to learn that he cannot collect his cannabis and bring it home. He learns that according to Canadian law, it must be sent to him by a secure courier.
It was interesting to see that a cannabis grower at the factory is a user as well and does so to help with his Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Back in Montreal Paterson waits patiently for his cannabis to arrive. Once it does he visits a place here called Santé Cannabis, a cannibis resource clinic for patients where he and his wife get a cooking lesson. He also meets another clien, Tristan Williams, who has beaten cancer twice and now runs an MS Foundation. Edible marijuana has been a life line for him.
Paterson takes Soiferman on the road with him to California and Colorado, where medical marijuana dispensaries are common place. He visits one store that has the largest selection of edible cannabis in the world. Wow, everything looked so delicious! At an industrial park in Colorado he watches how medical marijuana chocolate bars are made.
As we see Paterson head towards reaching his initial weight loss goal he states: "In the beginning of this movie I was a sack of garbage. I could not even put on my own shoes. I was in a rut. You’ve got to get out of a rut.”
If you do not get the CBC Documentary Channel, Soiferman says he expects his film to be shown elsewhere shortly. “We’re working on U.S. sales and a way for all Canadians to see it online too,” he says. “I won’t have details until the new year. For now, we’re going all-in to promote the Canadian premiere on the CBC Documentary Channel.”
Filming spanned from August 2014 to last January. Editing took another three months. “The whole process from development to completion took a year and a half,” Soiferman says. “But the desire to make a documentary on cannabis has been brewing for about 10 years and went through several incarnations.”
This is a fine piece of work and after watching I just wonder whether Paterson could star in his own sitcom. He comes across as a mixture of Jerry Seinfeld and the characters of George and Kramer mixed together.
GRASS FED is produced by Muse Entertainment Enterprises, a leading film and television production house behind Emmy Award-winning event miniseries such as The Kennedys and Pillars of the Earth and premium factual projects including JFK: The Smoking Gun, Sky Jumpers, and March to the Pole. Muse’s latest highly-rated miniseries is Tut which aired on the Spike channel in the U.S. and Canada and on numerous networks around the world.www.muse.ca
Here is the trailer. Find a way to see it. You won't be sorry!