When California legalized recreational cannabis sales, Oakland became the first city in the nation to adopt a Cannabis Equity Program, an ambitious attempt to address racial inequality and rectify the injustices of the war on drugs.
In Oakland, half of all new permits for cannabis businesses are reserved for people with local cannabis-related convictions, and residents from communities of color that have been disproportionately targeted by police for cannabis in the past.
WEED DREAMS follows several black-owned businesses participating in this historic program as they try to break into the city’s booming, and predominantly white legal cannabis industry. While these entrepreneurs dream of financial security, they realize the stakes are high in this competitive new frontier, and success is not guaranteed. To go legit and survive, they must raise the capital needed to launch their businesses, determine who is trying to take advantage of them, and learn to navigate a highly-regulated industry, where skin color and designation as an equity applicant can carry a stigma.
As these entrepreneurs go up against businesses already established from selling medical marijuana in California, legal cannabis businesses moving in from other states, and wealthy investors looking to cash in, will the program live up to its promise to level an otherwise uneven playing field, or fail to create lasting change?
WEED DREAMS offers a unique perspective into the legal cannabis industry and the battle over who should be first in line to profit from it.
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MATHEW RAMIREZ WARREN, DIRECTOR/PRODUCER
MATHEW RAMIREZ WARREN is a documentary filmmaker and journalist living in Oakland, CA, whose work has been featured on PBS, National Geographic, The New York Times and NBC. His feature-length documentary directorial debut, WE LIKE IT LIKE THAT, was broadcast on the PBS show America ReFramed, made Rolling Stone’s “15 Must See Movies at the SXSW Film Festival 2015” list, NBC’s “10 must see Latino and Latin American films of 2015” list, and won Best Documentary at the UrbanWorld film festival. In 2016, he produced and directed EDDIE PALMIERI: A REVOLUTION ON HARLEM RIVER DRIVE, an episode for the Red Bull TV documentary series The Note, and in 2017 he field produced several segments for the National Geographic documentary series Chain of Command.
MIKE FELDMAN, EDITOR/PRODUCER
MIKE FELDMAN graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a B.F.A in Film; TV production. Documentary editor credits include WE LIKE IT LIKE THAT (SxSW, PBS), EDDIE PALMIERI: A REVOLUTION ON HARLEM RIVER DRIVE (RedBullTV), and an additional editor/colorist credit on HOT GIRLS WANTED (Sundance, Netflix). Mike has also worked as a colorist on features including JULIA BLUE (Seattle Int’l Film Festival), TROUBLE (Seattle Int’l Film Festival), HAUNTERS (DocNYC), BIBLE QUIZ (Slamdance Grand Prize winner), and shorts including DIVIDED CITY (ReelSouth).