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Hot Docs 2021: ‘Lady Buds”


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As someone who despises the smell of weed, watching “Lady Buds” is like having the same awful odor coming through the door. But when I put aside my own preferences, it became a hell of a ride seeing the neck-to-neck fight going on in the cannabis industry, in California’s Montecito.

“Lady Buds”, written, directed and produced by Chris J. Russo, tackles the never-ending struggle and competition in the cannabis industry, which worsened after being legalized in the state of California. It follows six extremely brave and ambitious women who literally stop at nothing to achieve their dream – growing legalized marijuana and become a part of the system. As cannabis farmers, they are full of hope. But when California made it legal, a new wave of battle began, putting them on the edge of despair as they fight for an official permit.

Each woman, Felicia, Karyn, The Bud Sisters, Chiah and Sue have an extraordinary story to share. For instance, Sue spends all her retirement money to pursue her dream that was born twelve years ago. Chia, as a child, grew cannabis plants under blackberry trees. Felicia, on the other hand, fights for the right of multicultural communities to gain equal access to medical cannabis. Each story is inspiring, heartwarming and worthwhile learning. As you watch them, you realize that the beauty of the dream is not when it exists, but when it develops a shape and form, which one can admire after coming true.

What the documentary reveals is astounding, probably not surprising either. In Montecito, many people grow cannabis. They really do. If the question ‘why’ cannot be asked for obvious reasons, how the residents of Montecito country were able to pull it off? But it’s all due to perseverance and the desire to show the system they can do it too, as you watch the wonderfully charming ladies. But don’t think that “Lady Buds” covers the optimistic part of the story. It captures all the obstacles the ladies face, their ups and downs which culminate on a logical note, to deliver one important lesson to all of us – do whatever you wanna do. Go for it no matter what. There will be people standing in front of you to stop you from progressing and legal challenges might be one of them. But we all must focus on what we need to get and not how. Thanks to Sue Taylor’s advice, I will most definitely pursue one of them.

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