Chris J. Russo, Chiah Rodriques and Sue Taylor on Female Marijuana Pioneers in Lady Buds [Exclusive Interview]

Lady Buds directed by Chris J. Russo

Lady Buds directed by Chris J. Russo

Chris J. Russo saw a remarkable opportunity to document a changing fledgling industry in California—marijuana. With the legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana underway, small growers and dispensaries must navigate through the bureaucracy, hostilities, and changing rules of the game.

With the documentary Lady Buds, Russo recorded the lives of six women, who may be the pioneers of this everchanging industry in California.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Following the widely praised 2016 decision to legalize cannabis in California, six courageous women emerge from the shadows to enter the new commercial industry. As farmers, entrepreneurs and activists, these modern-day pioneers find their initial optimism is quickly replaced with uncertainty and fear as the new legislation favors deep-pocketed corporations. Those who shaped the foundations of the cannabis industry for decades soon find themselves struggling to fight for their piece of the American Dream in a market they helped create.

Lady Buds features second-generation cannabis farmer Chiah Rodriques, 72-year-old African-American retired Catholic school principal turned dispensary owner Sue Taylor, Latinx queer activist Felicia Carbajal, serial entrepreneur Karyn Wagner, and Humboldt elders The Bud Sisters. Their stories speak to the many opportunities and issues facing commercial cannabis today: the complicated dynamics of raising a family on a cannabis farm, the ongoing fight for those adversely affected by the War on Drugs, educating senior citizens about the healing power of cannabis, and honoring the LGBTQ activists who fought for legalizing medical marijuana over 25 years ago.

At every turn, these trailblazers defy stereotypes, while revealing that cannabis is much more than a plant. It’s a community.

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LRM Online’s Gig Patta chatted with director Chris J. Russo, along with subjects Chiah Rodriques and Sue Taylor.

Chris J. Russo had award-winning short films showcased all over the world, including Sundance Film Festival, Showtime, IFC, PBS, and Netflix. Her notable short film credits include A Woman Reported, Size ‘em Up, and Straight Down The Aisle: Confessions of Lesbian Bridesmaids.

Lady Buds is currently playing at the Hot Docs Festival 2021.

Watch the exclusive interview with Chris J. Russo, Chiah Rodriques, and Sue Taylor below. Let us know what you think.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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Gig Patta

Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and IESB.net. He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.

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