Have you ever needed to make a change – something in which your whole life is quite literally dependent on? What if your health received some benefit from consuming something forbidden?

Illness can be indiscriminate – any source of relief can be a nebulous road. This is the story that producer and director Dale Beaumont-Brown had to try and tell in the soon to be released feature documentary, GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution.

Here’s the exclusive trailer release:

GrassRoots takes a look at the hard-hitting situation over the course of the last three years. The film has delved into the inner-core of those who suffer from our current drug laws.

As many parts of the globe embrace cannabis reform, with four US states fully legalising, and with 24 states having a medical marijuana model – not to mention Uruguay and Canada forging ahead with national reforms – the UK still sticks to a policy of criminalisation and prohibition.

Dale, the director of GrassRoots, found the inspiration for making the film from a very personal angle:

"When I first started it was very much about exploring the life of the film’s main character, Clark French, a young Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who happens to be my cousin. Surprisingly, there are a large number of campaigners - most of whom living with a debilitating condition – who were fighting the UK's drug laws for safe, legal access to cannabis.

"I soon realised that this steadfast bunch of stoic people were organised and numbered in their thousands. They held marches, organised meetings and lobbied local MP's and the government for change in the law.  In 2013 alone I attended around a dozen of these events to try and unearth what they were doing." 

Virgin Unite, war on drugs, Jason Reed, LEAP uk

Dale had no preconceptions when starting the project.

"I am not ashamed to admit my flagrant ignorance when it came to the cannabis campaign's intentions. As a documentary filmmaker I firmly believe that ignorance is the fuel to a story's fire and helps to put me in a better position when documenting a factual film for an audience."

After years of travel and filming, GrassRoots launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the film and make sure the documentary made it to the big screen. Alongside people with ill health, voices such as Professor David Nutt, former Chief Constable Tom Lloyd and former undercover detective Neil Woods give credence to the issue of reform from their eminent perspective. 

Virgin Unite, war on drugs, Jason Reed, LEAP uk

Now, three years on and with quite the story to tell, the film and its director are getting ready to show the world just what’s going on with the UK and those who are caught up in the web of prohibition.

"I learned two things from my trip to Colorado and California, and also from my subsequent filming trips to Holland and Spain: The systems they have in place are not yet perfect but they do work. And they are a far better than seeing vulnerable people in the harm’s way of drug dealers and the police alike.

The story to me was simple; the way to document the cannabis movement in the UK had to be through the eyes of one of its own. It then went on to become a story that documents the trials, tribulations, hardships and sometimes the wins of a person trying to find his way in life. If anything, working on GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution has taught me never to take your health, or liberty, for granted."

Virgin Unite, war on drugs, Jason Reed, LEAP uk

GrassRoots will have its World Premiere screening in Norwich at Norwich Radical Film Festival on Saturday 27th August at The Garage. It will go on general release in September. Find GrassRoots on Facebook, Twitter and online at www.grassrootsdocu.com

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