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CANNABIZ

Director: Réka Pigniczky
Scriptwriters: Pierre-Olivier Francois and Réka Pigniczky
Producer: Barnabás Gerő
Cinematography: Gergő Kiss
Editing: László Hargittai
Length: 70 min.
Format: HD

"I don't make the laws, I just break them."

This is the tell-all story of a marijuana entrepreneur in Los Angeles, California. From small-time dealing in high school to running a diversified organization around medical marijuana in 2013, Don's story takes us behind the scenes into the lucrative industry known as Cannabusiness. 

Background

California legalized marijuana for medical use in 1996, meaning that anyone with a valid doctor's recommendation can cultivate, use and sell marijuana. The state was the first to legalize medical marijuana, and one of the first to allow dispensaries, or collectives, for the cultivation and sale of marijuana to 'patients.' In 2012, Colorado and Washington state legalized marijuana for recreational use, under strict guidelines. At the same time, the cultivation, possession and sale of marijuana is still strictly illegal under federal laws, which take precedence over state laws. 

Marijuana is the largest cash crop in the United States, bigger than both corn and tobacco. It has an estimated wholesale market value of 35 billion US dollars per year nationwide. Most of the marijuana is grown in California, in the area known as the Emerald Triangle in northern California and the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. While some of this crop goes to valid medical patients, no one denies that most of the pot ends up being sold around the country -- and the world -- illegally, for huge profits. California has become the Amsterdam for the rest of the world. 

At some point in 2010, medical marijuana dispensaries grew so common in LA that there were more of them than Starbuck’s coffees. And a whole industry of people and services has grown up around the cultivation and sale of a drug that is strictly illegal in the U.S. California’s medical marijuana industry took in about $2 billion a year and generated $100 million in state sales taxes during 2008, with an estimated 2,100 dispensaries, co-operatives, wellness clinics and taxi delivery services in the sector colloquially known as “cannabusiness”.