The Marijuana Conspiracy follows a group of women who were part of a Canadian study into the effects of cannabis on young women. The film follows not only the women who volunteered, but the scientists, and health care professionals who were running the study. From the start of the film it’s clear that this study was politically motivated by the government meant to help them prove marijuana is dangerous during the 1970s. The way that this real life conflict was weaved into the plot along with each character’s individual motivation and complexities makes The Marijuana Conspiracy enthralling to watch.
The Marijuana Conspiracy follows the women who are part of the study introducing the audience to a core group of five of the volunteers who smoked twice a night during the experiment. Mary who is pragmatic and quick to question after living on the streets for years, Mourinda an African-American woman who has dealt with discrimination all her life and dreams of going to university, Janice the world traveler, Jane who is more concerned with her career and the hippie lifestyle of the 1970s than starting a family as is expected of her, and Marissa who is hiding something from the start and hopes to use the capital from this study to start her own business.
The women come from different backgrounds, but have joined this study with specific goals in mind. What is amazing to watch is how all of these women came together during the study to support one another and find a way to stay motivated. What became clear and is especially poignant now is that the marijuana wasn’t the biggest issue they were dealing with during the study, it was the isolation and inability to leave the premises.
Two of the stand out performances in The Marijuana Conspiracy are Tymika Tafari as Mourinda and Kyla Avril Young as Janice. Not allowed to contact family other than written letters and unable to go outside, Janice’s struggles hit especially close to home after the months of being in lockdown during the on going pandemic.
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Mourinda’s personal connection to the issue of marijuana made the horrible irony of the situation even more obvious and every scene she had brought a new depth to her character that made her an impressive stand out among the bunch. With women of different race, sexuality, economic backgrounds, and views on family, it’s amazing how this experience brought them together considering they very well could have never met.
The film also followed the scientists and health care professionals running the study. Many of these characters were fascinating because as The Marijuana Conspiracy unfolds their true motivations become more clear and those who initially seemed sympathetic reveal themselves to be otherwise and vice versa.
Nurse Alice Jones played by Marie Wayward was one of the most interesting characters with an impressive performance and fantastic arc, first being compared to Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, this comparison evolves and changes as more of her story is revealed. She is not only one of the only women involved on the scientific part of the study, her personal life becomes a key part of the period aspect of this drama.
The acting is fantastic, drawing you in and getting you invested in the outcome for the characters as well as the study itself. The Marijuana Conspiracy features a truly unbelievable story that one feels should be more well-known given the implications and current climate regarding the legalization of cannabis. The Marijuana Conspiracy is yet another example of a marginalized group of people taken advantage of in the name of “scientific discovery”. It isn’t hard to believe that these complex and layered characters are based on the real people from this study.
The Marijuana Conspiracy showed that the long-term ramifications that these women live with was less connected to the marijuana and more about the study itself. Having so much blood taken that their arms appeared to be covered in track marks. They were given written and signed notes from the doctors involved in the study stating that they were part of a scientific study and are not drug addicts.
The three-month confinement likely had lasting effects if the current pandemic is anything to go by, but what is most telling is that even now the results of this study have not been released. Given the political motivation behind the funding of this study it isn’t difficult to figure out why that likely is.
THE MARIJUANA CONSPIRACY TRAILER AND SYNOPSIS
In 1972, young women looking for a fresh start in life endure isolated captivity in a true 98-day human experiment studying the effects of marijuana on females.
The Marijuana Conspiracy is written and directed by Craig Pryce and based on a true story shared by Doreen Brown one of the women involved in the study which led to an investigation being opened by the Toronto Star into the results of this study. The Marijuana Conspiracy stars Julia Sarah Stone, Morgan Kohan, Britany Bristow, Tymika Tafari, Kyla Avril Young, Marie Wars, Luke Bilyk, Gregory Calderone, Palino Nunes, and Derek McGrath. What did you think of The Marijuana Conspiracy? Let us know in the comment section below or over on our social media!
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