METROFOCUS: April 13, 2021

The past three years our colleagues at Frontline have been working with ProPublica to investigate the rise of violent extremism in America. Their probe looked at what led to the deadly attack on the US Capitol, how far-right groups were emboldened by former President Donald Trump and why individuals were radicalized. Supported by our Exploring Hate initiative, Frontline is now premiering the first in a series of films chronicling the surge in extremism being felt around the world with “American Insurrection.”

Filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein takes us inside the world of medicinal marijuana in this eye opening documentary on parents fighting for their children’s survival against cancer while fighting against mainstream medicine.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS METROFOCUS.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, PATTI ASKWITH KENNER.

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS OUR COLLEAGUES AT FRONT LINE HAVE TEAMED UP WITH REPUBLICA.

AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE DEADLY ATTACK ON THE U.S. CAPITOL, HOW FAR RIGHT GROUPS WERE EMBOLDENED BY FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP AND WHY INDIVIDUALS BECAME RADICALIZED.

R FR FRONTLINE IS PREMIERING THE FIRST OF THREE FILMS 'AMERICAN INSURRECTION' DEBUTS TONIGHT.

IT'S SUPPORTED BY OUR EXPLORING HATE INITIATIVE HERE AT WNET EXPLORING ANTI-SEMITISM, RACISM AND EXTREMISM IN AMERICA.

HERE'S A PREVIEW.

> I THINK ABOUT A REVOLUTION AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

WE'RE PAST THE POINT OF PEACE.

FROM CHARLOTTESVILLE TO THE ASSAULT ON THE CAPITOL, THE DARKEST DAYS IN THE HISTORY OF OUR NATION.

WE'RE SEEING THIS COUNTRY FALL APART BEFORE OUR EYES.

HOW THE FORMER PRESIDENT GALVANIZED AN ARMY.

HE GOT A GUY WHO'S A NATIONALIST IN THE MOST POWERFUL SEAT IN THE WORLD.

WE CAN ACTUALLY WIN.

PROUD BOYS, STAND BACK AND STAND BY.

LOCK THEM ALL UP.

THE FAR RIGHT MILITIAS HAVE MUCH MORE LICENSE TO PUBLICLY ENGAGE.

THE PLOT TO KIDNAP GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER.

KIDNAP ME AND POSSIBLY KILL ME.

YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE A COUNTRY ANYMORE.

VIOLENT MOB STOKED BY THE WORDS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP STORMED THE BUILDING.

THEIR COUNTRY WOULD SOMEHOW BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM.

IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE 2020 ELECTION, HOW THESE GROUPS HAVE BECOME PART OF THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE.

THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE IN THE CROWD ASSOCIATED WITH US AND THEY WEREN'T THERE FOR TRUMP.

THEY WERE THERE JUST TO MESS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ONE MORE TIME.

OVER THE LAST SEVERAL TIMES FRONTLINE AND PROPUBLICA INVESTIGATES THE SCOURGE OF FAR RIGHT POLITICAL VIOLENCE.

WHAT DO SOLDIERS AND MARINES BRING?

XPERTISE IN CERTAIN AREAS.

I'M AFRAID THAT MORE INNOCENT CIVILIANS ARE GOING TO BE TARGETED AND VICTIMIZED BY THESE VIOLENT OFFENDERS.

EVERYTHING THAT WE HAVE PREDICTED HAS COME TO FRUITION AND IT'S ACTUALLY WORSE.

THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF FILMS ON THE RISE OF EXTREMISM AROUND THE WORLD.

WE DEFINITELY ARE THE MODERN MILITIA.

WE'RE THE ONES CRAZY ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING.

MORE NOW ON AMERICAN INSURRECTION.

WE'RE PLEASED TO BE JOINED BY CORRESPONDENT AND PROPUBLICA SENIOR REPORTER AC THOMPSON.

WELCOME.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME ON.

SO LET'S START WITH THE TITLE 'AMERICAN INSURRECTION.'

I SUSPECT ANYBODY WHO SEES THAT WILL THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE ALL ABOUT JANUARY 6th AND WHAT TOOK PLACE AT THE CAPITOL.

INDEED THE FILM STARTS WITH SOME HAUNTING IMAGES OF THE DAY AFTER THAT ON JANUARY 7th.

THAT'S NOT ALL THIS IS ABOUT.

WHY THEN CHOOSE 'AMERICAN INSURRECTION' AS YOUR TITLE?

WE REALLY STARTED WORKING ON THIS FILM SHORTLY AFTER THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN THE LAST ELECTION CYCLE.

THAT WAS WHEN DONALD TRUMP, THEN PRESIDENT, GAVE A SHOUTOUT TO THE PROUD BOYS, THE ULTRA NATIONALIST KIND OF STREET FIGHTING GANG.

OUR BOSSES SAID, HEY, THAT'S REALLY INTERESTING.

WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE NOW, WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE STREETS.

WE DIDN'T KNOW, OBVIOUSLY, THAT JANUARY 6th WOULD HAPPEN.

BUT WE STARTED TRACKING THESE MOVEMENTS THAT WOULD END UP PROPELLING US TO JANUARY 6th AND END UP BEING PLAYERS ON THAT DAY.

WHEN YOU STARTED OFF WITH THESE HAUNTING IMAGES OF JANUARY 7th AND YOU TALK ABOUT IN ORDER TO TELL THE STORY, YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING.

THE BEGINNING IS CHARLOTTESVILLE.

WHY WAS CHARLOTTESVILLE THE BEGINNING OF THIS STORY?

FOR ME, HAVING COVERED THAT EVENT AND HAVING BEEN THERE THE DAY OF THAT TRAGEDY, I THOUGHT REALLY THIS IS A MOMENT THAT TELLS US THAT THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION HAS A DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT APPROACH AND RELATIONSHIP WITH EXTREMIST MOVEMENTS, WITH RADICAL PARTICULARLY WHITE POWER MOVEMENTS AT THAT TIME, THAN ANY ADMINISTRATION IN MODERN HISTORY.

AND IN SOME WAYS, WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE IS WE'RE TRACING THAT SORT OF MOMENT WHERE IT BECOMES CLEAR TO THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, THIS IS A PRESIDENT WHO HAS NOT BEEN UNEQUIVOCAL IN HIS CONDEMNATION OF WHAT'S JUST HAPPENED IN CHARLOTTESVILLE.

WE ARE IN A NEW AGE.

WHAT YOU'VE SEEN OVER THE LAST YEAR IS A CONTINUATION OF THAT ARC OF A PRESIDENT WHO REALLY WAS WILLING TO SORT OF ENERGIZE AND INSPIRE SOME OF THE ANGRIER AND MORE DANGEROUS FORCES OUT IN THE STREETS.

WERE YOU SURPRISED AT ALL BY THE PEOPLE YOU TALKED TO?

YOU HAD EXTRAORDINARY ACCESS.

VIEWERS MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO SEE SO MANY OF THESE PEOPLE WERE WILLING TO SIT DOWN AND TALK WITH YOU.

WERE YOU AT ALL SURPRISED BY THEIR RESPONSES TO THE ROLE THAT FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP PLAYED IN ALL OF THIS?

YOU KNOW, A THING THAT I HEARD FROM MANY PEOPLE WAS, TRUMP IS AN INSPIRATION, THAT DONALD TRUMP IS A CATALYST, THAT WE SEE DONALD TRUMP AS AN ALLY.

BUT I ALSO HEARD FROM PEOPLE LIKE IN THE BUGALOO MOVEMENT, WHICH IS AN ANTI-GOVERNMENT, INSURRECTIONIST MOVEMENT THAT AIMS TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT, THEY SAY WE DON'T LIKE TRUMP, BIDEN OR ANY OF THE POLITICIANS, BUT WE REALLY DO WANT TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT.

YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT PROUD BOYS AND SOME OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THERE, BUT YOU DO SHINE A LIGHT ON THAT MOVEMENT.

WHY WAS THAT IMPORTANT IN YOUR STORYTELLING HERE?

THE THING WE COULD SEE AFTER CHARLOTTESVILLE IS THAT THE WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT, THE OPEN WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT HAD STARTED TO FALTER.

THERE WAS SO MUCH BACKLASH AFTER CHARLOTTESVILLE THAT PEOPLE REBRANDED, THEY GOT INTO DIFFERENT GROUPS, THEY ADOPTED SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT IDEOLOGIES.

ONE OF THE NEW MOVEMENTS THAT SPRANG UP IN THE LAST COUPLE YEARS IS THE SO-CALLED BUGALOO MOVEMENT.

SOME CAME FROM THE WHITE POWER SCENE AND OTHER SCENES . IN 2020 THEY WERE THE MOST ACTIVE GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES WITH MORE ARRESTS THAN ANY OTHER EXTREMIST GROUP.

WE THOUGHT IT WAS CRUCIAL TO UNDERSTAND THEM AND EXPLAIN WHAT THEY WERE DOING.

I THINK PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN FOLLOWING THIS WOULD BE SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT, THE ENHANCED ROLE, IF YOU WILL, THAT THEY'RE PLAYING NOW.

LET ME COME BACK TO THE ACCESS THAT YOU HAD TO PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THIS FILM.

IN WATCHING IT, YOU KNOW, I KEPT SAYING TO MYSELF, HUH, I'M SURPRISED THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO SIT DOWN AND TO SAY WHAT THEY'RE WILLING TO SAY HERE.

WERE YOU AT ALL SURPRISED THAT YOU GOT SUCH EXTRAORDINARY ACCESS?

YEAH, I WAS AT SOME POINTS.

I HAVE TO SAY THAT OUR PARTNERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY JOURNALISM SCHOOL DID REMARKABLE WORK IN GETTING AN INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN PRIA WHO'S AN ALLEGED BUGALOO BOY FACING THE DEATH PENALTY FOR ALLEGEDLY KILLING A FEDERAL OFFICER.

ONE THING IS WE DON'T WANT TO PLATFORM THESE PEOPLE.

THAT IS A TOUGH ISSUE.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GIVING THESE PEOPLE A MICROPHONE AND PUTTING THEM ON SCREEN SO PEOPLE CAN UNDERSTAND WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY WANT?

THAT WAS SOMETHING WE HAD TO WRESTLE WITH.

SOME OF THESE PEOPLE WANT TO USE US TO PROCSELYTIZE AND GROW THER MOVEMENTS.

SOME OF THESE PEOPLE YOU COULD TELL WERE VERY INTELLIGENT.

THEY UNDERSTAND BY TALKING TO YOU THEY ARE GETTING PLATFORM AND PERHAPS MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WILL LISTEN TO THEM THAT THEY WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO GET ACCESS TO OTHERWISE.

HOW DO YOU AS A FILMMAKER SAY, HE GETS ON, HE DOESN'T?

HOW DO YOU RESOLVE THOSE ISSUES?

YEAH.

IT'S NEVER PERFECT, RIGHT?

IT'S A COLLECTIVE PROCESS BETWEEN EVERYONE ON OUR FILM MAKING TEAM.

I THINK THE THINGS WE WANT TO DO, WE WANT TO SHOW THESE PEOPLE AND LET THEM SPEAK IN THEIR OWN WORDS.

I CAN DESCRIBE THEM TO YOU.

I CAN SAY THAT BARRY CROFT, THE MAN WHO ALLEGEDLY HELPED MASTER MIND THE KIDNAPPING PLOT OF GRETCHEN WHITMER, I CAN SAY THIS IS WHAT HE'S LIKE, BUT IF YOU SEE HIM ON CAMERA, YOU GET A MUCH BETTER IDEA.

WE WANT TO LET YOU UNDERSTAND ON A VISCERAL LEVEL WHO THEY ARE, BUT ALSO WE WANT TO PUSH BACK ON THE THINGS THEY SAY THAT WE THINK ARE SIMPLY FALSE.

WE WANT TO BE CRITICALLY ON THEIR BACKGROUNDS AND WHO THEY REALLY ARE.

IF THEY ARE ACTUALLY THE PEOPLE THAT THEY PORTRAY THEMSELVES AS, IF THEY SAY THINGS WE DON'T AGREE WITH, WE WANT TO HIGHLIGHT THAT.

WE'RE TALKING WITH AC THOMPSON, THE CORRESPONDENT ON FRONTLINE'S 'AMERICAN INSURRECTION.'

CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS FOR THAT.

AC, IN TEHIS IS A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY FOR YOU.

YOU'RE TRYING TO FIND ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS HERE.

WHEN YOU TALK TO THESE PEOPLE AND WHEN YOU DELVE INTO THE BACKGROUND OF SO MANY OF THEM ONE OF THE RECURRING THINGS WE SEE IS A MILITARY BACKGROUND FOR SO MANY OF THESE.

HOW DO YOU THINK THAT PLAYS INTO WHO THEY ARE AND THIS IDEOLOGY THEY'RE BACKING?

THE FIRST THING I WOULD SAY IS OBVIOUSLY THE VAST BULK OF SERVICE MEMBERS DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO EXTREMIST IDEOLOGIES.

WHAT'S CONCERNING IS THERE'S THIS HARD CORE OF PEOPLE WHO SHOW UP IN THE LAST FEW DECADES THAT COME FROM THE ARMED FORCES.

OF THE GUYS WE MET, A LOT OF THEM WOULD SAY, I GOT OUT OF THE MILITARY, I WAS DISENCHANTED WITH THE MISSION, I FELT USED BY THE MILITARY, I WAS BROKE AND I WAS ANGRY WITH THE GOVERNMENT.

SO HERE I AM, I'VE TAKEN UP ARMS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

IT WAS A THING WE SAW OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

AS YOU'RE LOOKING AT THIS AND YOU MENTIONED BEFORE THAT ONE OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF CHARLOTTESVILLE AND I THINK THAT WAS A SURPRISE CERTAINLY TO ME AS I VIEWED THIS, HOW ONE OF THE CONSEQUENCES, THE BACKLASHES YOU MENTIONS WAS IT PUSHED SOME GROUPS BACK, IF YOU WILL, HAD THEM CHANGE THEIR BRANDING AND MAYBE WALK AWAY FROM SOME THINGS.

DO YOU THINK SOMETHING SIMILAR MAY TAKE PLACE ON THE HEELS OF THE INSURRECTION ON JANUARY 6th AND THE IMPACT THAT THE SUBSEQUENT PROSECUTIONS MIGHT HAVE?

YOU KNOW, THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

THAT'S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION.

A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THESE MOVEMENTS HAVE PUT ON A BRAVE FACE.

THEY SAY, WE'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE, THIS WON'T CHANGE THINGS.

I THINK IT ABSOLUTELY WILL.

I THINK THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE THAT WHAT YOU SEE IS A BACKLASH AND PEOPLE NEEDING TO BASICALLY REBRAND, RESTART, ADOPT A SLIGHTLY NEW IDENTITY WITH THEIR ACTIVISM AND MOVEMENTS.

I THINK THAT'S ABSOLUTELY LIKELY.

WHAT ARE WE SEEING IN TERMS OF REACTIONS BY STATE GOVERNMENTS, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS IN TERMS OF THEIR TRYING TO DEAL WITH THESE GROUPS?

YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN SO INTERESTING TO ME TO SEE WHAT'S WHAT HAPPENED PARTICULARLY WITH THE PENTAGON.

THAT'S BEEN THE MOST INTERESTING THING TO ME, BECAUSE WHEN WE WERE DOING OUR EARLIER REPORTING ON THIS, THEY ISSUED A STATEMENT SAYING, LOOK, WE'VE HAD 27 INVESTIGATIONS OR WE'VE HAD 27 REPORTS OF EXTREMIST ACTIVITY WITHIN THE SERVICES OVER A FIVE-YEAR SPAN.

THAT'S 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE AND THEY'VE GOT LESS THAN 30 REPORTS.

THE SORT OF WHOLE NOTION WAS, LOOK, THAT'S NOT A VERY BIG PROBLEM.

I WOULD SAY NOW THAT IS NOT THE POSTURE OF THE PENTAGON AT ALL.

YOU MENTIONED IN THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM, YOU TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AND YOU'RE LOOKING FOR SO MANY DIFFERENT ANSWERS IN SO MANY DIFFERENT PLACES DURING THE COURSE OF YOUR RESEARCH AND YOUR REPORTING HERE.

WERE THERE QUESTIONS THAT WERE PARAMOUNT IN YOUR MIND THAT YOU STILL HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FIND ANSWERS TO?

YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

THE BIGGEST ONE AND I THINK IT'S A PROFOUND QUESTION FOR ALL OF US, OBVIOUSLY, IS THE IMPACT OF THE TERRORISM IN THIS COUNTRY BY PEOPLE WHO ARE ANGRY ABOUT THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION, BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE DECIDED TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT, BY MEMBERS OF THESE MILITIA GROUPS, I THINK THAT IS AN OPEN QUESTION.

IT'S THE FIRST IN A FRONT LINE SERIES.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?

FROM HERE WE'RE GOING TO GO GLOBAL.

WE EXPLORE HOW THESE MOVEMENTS ARE BRANCHING OUT AND HOW THEY'RE AFFECTING POLITICS IN OTHER MAJOR NATIONS.

I THINK WE ARE SO CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING TO US THAT WE HAVEN'T HAD' EITHER THE OPPORTUNITY OR THE ABILITY TO SEE HOW THIS FITS INTO WHAT'S GOING ON GLOBALLY.

I THINK OBVIOUSLY LOOKING FOR THAT AND TRYING TO FIND SOME ANSWERS TO THAT WILL BE SOMETHING THAT WILL BE IMPORTANT FOR US.

AC THOMPSON, AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, THE CORRESPONDENT ON FRONTLINE'S 'AMERICAN INSURRECTION' ON PBS.

I WILL TELL YOU AS A COMPLIMENT, I MENTIONED THIS BEFORE YOU AND I STARTED TAPING, I SAT DOWN TO WATCH THE FILM, FIGURED I'D WATCH A LITTLE BIT AND THEN COME BACK AND WATCH A LITTLE BIT MORE AND WRAP IT UP IN PREPARATION FOR THIS.

I COULDN'T WALK AWAY FROM MY COMPUTER.

IT'S POWERFUL, IT'S SEARCHING, IT'S COMPELLING.

INDEED, IT'S PROVOCATIVE.

IT ANSWERS, I THINK, SOME QUESTIONS THAT WE HAVE, BUT MAYBE THE MOST COMPELLING ASPECT OF IT IS, AS YOU MENTIONED, IT LEAVES US WITH A LOT OF QUESTIONS THAT ARE UNANSWERED.

MARVELOUS FILM MAKING, GREAT REPORTING BY YOU.

WE APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING YOU BACK ON AS 'FRONTLINE' CONTINUES THE SERIES HERE.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

WE PREEAPPRECIATE IT.

THANK YOU.

> CANNABIS, POT, DOPE, REEFER, MARIJUANA HAS BEEN OFF LIMITS TO DOCTORS AND RESEARCHERS IN THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PAST 80 YEARS, BUT NOW WE'RE SEE A MAJOR PUSH FOR RECREATIONAL AND ITS MEDICINAL PURPOSES.

SCIENTISTS DISCOVERED ITS POTENTIAL ANTI-CANCER PROPERTIES.

DESPERATE PARENTS ARE TURNING TO CANNABIS OIL FROM UNDERGROUND SOURCES IF NOT AVAILABLE OFFICIALLY MEDICINALLY AS A POTENTIAL LIFELINE TO SAVE THEIR CHILDREN FROM CHILDHOOD CANCERS.

THE NEW DOCUMENTARY 'WE THE PEOPLE,' TAKE A LOOK.

I FIND IT STAGGERING TO ACCEPT THAT THE OF THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT ON CANCER RESEARCH THAT --

THE WHOLE DRUG POLICY REFORM ISSUE IS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE AT ITS CORE.

WHY AS A SOCIETY ARE WE DENYING PEOPLE THE USE OF SOMETHING THAT I HAVE SEEN OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN BE HELPFUL?

JOINING ME NOW IS EMMY AWARD WINNING TELEVISION HOST RICKI LAKE, WHO IS ALSO THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF 'WE THE PEOPLE' AND THE FILM'S DIRECTOR ABBY EPSTEIN.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

LET ME START WITH YOU, RICKI, WHAT WAS IT THAT DREW YOU TO THIS PROJECT?

I WISH I COULD SAY IT WAS ME.

IT WAS NOT.

IT WAS MY HUSBAND, MY NOW-DECEASED BELOVED HUSBAND CHRISTIAN EVANS.

HE WAS RESEARCHING THIS MEDICINE FOR HIS OWN AILMENTS AND OTHER PEOPLE.

WE STUMBLED UPON THIS LITTLE GIRL AND WENT ON A JOURNEY.

REALLY IT WAS MY HUSBAND'S PASSION WITH THIS MEDICINE.

GOOD FILM MAKING IS ABOUT GOOD STORY TELLING.

ABSOLUTELY.

STORY TELLING USUALLY FOCUSES ON PEOPLE.

YES.

ABBY, THAT TAKES ME TO YOU.

A LOT OF FOLKS GAVE YOU INCREDIBLE ACCESS TO MOMENTS THAT WERE INTIMATE AND PROVOKING AND VERY DIFFICULT FOR THEM.

SO GOING INTO THIS AS A FILMMAKER, WHAT WERE YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT FOLLOWING THESE PEOPLE IN THESE MOST DIFFICULT MOMENTS THAT YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE IN SOMEONE'S LIFE?

WELL, IT WAS TERRIFYING.

IT WAS ACTUALLY REALLY TERRIFYING, BECAUSE HERE WE ARE TAKING ON THESE CHARACTERS, CHARACTERS TAKING ON THESE CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES AND REALLY HAVING NO IDEA WHO WILL SURVIVE, WHO WILL DO WELL, WHO MIGHT GET REALLY SICK.

I MEAN, IT WAS ACTUALLY REALLY TERRIFYING AND I FELT LIKE WE WERE ON THIS JOURNEY WITH THE FAMILIES.

I DON'T FEEL LIKE WE WERE DOCUMENTING THEM, LIKE, FROM AFAR.

I FELT LIKE WE WERE LIVING THIS WITH THEM.

IT WAS QUITE A ROLLER COASTER FOR FIVE YEARS.

THAT'S A SIGN OF GREAT FILM MAKING THAT YOU'RE TAKING EVERYBODY, INCLUDING YOURSELVES, ON A JOURNEY HERE.

GIVE ME A LITTLE DESCRIPTION OF THE HURDLES THAT THESE FAMILIES ARE ENCOUNTERING HERE IN TERMS OF -- MAYBE A BETTER QUESTION TO ASK IS, HOW ARE THEY LEARNING ABOUT THE POTENTIAL IMPACT THAT THE CANNABIS OIL COULD HAVE FOR THEM AND THEIR CHILDREN?

I MEAN, I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY FIRST HAD ACCESS.

IT'S LIKE PUTTING THE PIECES OF A PUZZLE TOGETHER.

FIRST OF ALL, THEY HAVE TO LIVE IN A LEGAL STATE.

MOST OF THE FAMILIES LIVED IN CALIFORNIA, WHICH THEY WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE MEDICINE.

IF YOU GOOGLE CANNABIS AND CANCER, GET A WHOLE TON OF STUDIES.

I MENTIONED BEFORE MY DAUGHTER IS A CANCER SURGEON.

SHE AND I TALKED ABOUT THIS.

YOU KNOW, YOU'LL SEE ABOUT PAIN, HELPING TO DEAL WITH PAIN ABOUT USING THIS AS OPPOSED TO OTHER OPIOIDS.

FOR NAUSEA.

FOR NAUSEA.

BUT I THINK WHAT'S FASCINATING, AMONG OTHER THINGS ABOUT THE FILM, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE NOTION OF THIS DERIVATIVE OF MARIJUANA ACTUALLY FIGHTING CANCER CELLS, NOT JUST PUTTING A MASK ON YOUR PAIN OR NAUSEA, BUT ACTUALLY FIGHTING CANCER CELLS.

THE CANCER CELLS AND NOT THE HEALTHY CELLS.

JUST TELL A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT THIS RESEARCH IS SUGGESTING.

WE WENT TO ISRAEL.

IN ISRAEL THEY'RE LEADING IN THE SCIENCE.

WHAT ARE THEY FINDING?

WE WENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM AND WE REALLY TALKED TO THE TOP, TOP CANNABIS SCIENTISTS.

AND THEY SHOWED US THAT WHAT THEY'RE REALLY INTERESTED IN IS THIS MECHANISM CALLED APOPTOSIS, WHICH IS PROGRAMMABLE CELL DEATH.

WHEN THE BODY HAS CANCER, IT'S BECAUSE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM CAN'T DETECT THE CANCER CELLS AND CAN'T SEND THE SIGNAL TO THOSE CELLS TO SELF-DESTRUCT.

SOMEHOW, AND THEY DON'T KNOW HOW, BUT THE CANNABIS AT LEAST IN THE TEST TUBE AND IN SOME ANIMAL MODELS SEEMS TO TRIGGER THIS APOPTOSIS, THE PROGRAMMABLE CELL DEATH.

THERE ARE DIFFERENT STRAINS FOR THE SPECIFIC CANCERS.

THIS STRAIN OF CANNABIS WORKS FOR PROSTATE CANCER BUT DOESN'T WORK FOR BREAST CANCER.

THEY'RE FIGURING OUT WHICH WORK BEST FOR WHICH CANCER.

TALKING ABOUT CANNABIS OILS AS OPPOSED TO THE PSYCHO ACTIVE SMOKING THING THAT EVERYBODY IS TO SOME EXTENT FAMILIAR WITH.

RIGHT.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHOLE PLANTS.

IT'S NOT JUST CBD.

I KNOW THEY TALK ABOUT EPILEPSY.

BUT THIS IS SHRINKING TUMORS.

IT'S A CANNABIS OIL EXTRACT.

A LOT OF PEOPLE WHEN THEY HEAR ABOUT THE MOVIE THEY'RE LIKE, OH, THESE LITTLE KIDS ARE SMOKING POT.

THERE'S NO SMOKING POT.

LIKE 'REEFER MADNESS'.

THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO CHANGE IN OUR MINDS AND THE CULTURE IS THAT WHEN YOU HEAR CANNABIS, YOU DON'T IMMEDIATELY GO TO A ROLLED SMOKING JOINT, BECAUSE THIS MEDICINE IS BEING INGESTED, IT'S BEING TAKEN IN PILLS AND EXTRACTS AND TINCTURES.

SUPPOSITORIES.

YEAH.

IT IS STILL SMOKED, YOU KNOW, AND SMOKING IS HELPFUL FOR CERTAIN CONDITIONS, ESPECIALLY PEOPLE WHO NEED A VERY IMMEDIATE ONSET OF PAIN RELIEF, BUT FOR THE MOST PART IT'S LIKE A BOTANICAL.

IT'S NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY BOTANICAL DRUG OR MEDICINE.

WHAT DID YOU FIND THEN IN FOLLOWING THESE FOLKS ON THEIR JOURNEY?

BECAUSE I THINK PEOPLE LISTENING TO US WOULD SAY, WELL, WOW, WE SHOULD BE ALL OVER THIS IN TERMS OF RESEARCH AND MONEY AND EFFORTS AND RESOURCES, BECAUSE THIS SOUNDS LIKE A -- I DON'T WANT TO SAY A SILVER BULLET, BUT PRETTY CLOSE.

WHAT DID YOU FIND WERE THE OBSTACLES?

WELL, IT'S A SCHEDULE I DRUG, SO THE GOVERNMENT SAYS THERE'S NO MEDICINAL VALUE.

THEY STOP ALL THE FUNDING.

IT'S REALLY, REALLY DIFFICULT.

AND YET THEY HOLD A PATENT FOR THIS.

HOW CAN IT BE BOTH?

THE GOVERNMENT, THE SCHEDULING IS DEFINITELY A BIG OBSTACLE, THE STIGMA IS A HUGE OBSTACLE.

I THINK PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND DOCTORS ARE NOT COMFORTABLE.

GOD MADE ALL THE PLANTS.

THIS WAS A PLANT.

THIS WAS PUT ON THE PLANET.

WE COEVOLVED WITH THIS PLANT.

WE HAVE AN ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM.

MAKES TOTAL SENSE.

I THINK IT'S THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE.

WHEN WE LEARN, WE'RE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND.

IT'S A MARVELOUS FILM 'WE THE PEOPLE.'

THE PLAY ON THE FIRST THREE WORDS TO THE PREAMBLE OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.

SOME PEOPLE DON'T LIKE IT BECAUSE THEY THINK IT'S MISLEADING.

I THINK IT'S FOR US THE TITLE MEANT ABOUT THIS IS OUR RIGHT.

THE TITLE MAKES PEOPLE TALK.

SO FOR WHAT YOU'RE DOING, MAKING PEOPLE TALK IS A VALUE.

IT'S JUST A VERY COMPELLING ON SO MANY LEVELS FILM AND A VERY PROVOCATIVE FILM AND A VERY THOUGHTFUL FILM.

IT TOOK A LOT OF YEARS.

YOU CAN TELL YOU PUT A LOT OF EFFORT INTO IT.

IT BEATS THE TALK SHOW.

THEY WANT YOU BACK AGAIN.

WE'RE GOING TO START A MOVEMENT.

SUCH A PLEASURE TALKING TO YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

GREAT WORK.

THANK YOU.

A REMINDER.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DOCUMENTARY 'WE THE PEOPLE' VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE DR. ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, PATTI ASKWITH KENNER.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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