By Gregory Crofton
The documentary “Weed & Wine,” a selection at this year’s DOC NYC, is part of its director’s mission to help normalize the marijuana business.
Rebecca Richman Cohen’s new film juxtaposes the daily lives of a long-time wine producing family from Southern France with that of a family that grows weed in Humboldt County, California.
The comparison is a stretch, but Cohen is right to show how the business of growing and selling legal marijuana is at a crucial juncture in United States. The industry is in the process of leaving behind the black market for a brand new speciality market, like the global one that has long-existed but is clearly defined for wine.
With cool graphic elements and a fitting soundtrack, this documentary goes down easy. It looks good but more detailed well-photographed shots of pot would have been appreciated and appropriate. While the doc has a slight snatch-and-grab TV feel, it was an ambitious project.
You learn a thing or two about both types of businesses. In California, one pound of pot was once worth $5,000, but that’s dropped to around $1,000 with legalization. And in France, global warming is impacting weather patterns that challenge winemakers and produce fewer grapes.
Some humanity also shines through in this film. “Weed & Wine” peeks into the two different worlds to show how an artisan family passes know-how to the next generation: Mother to son in France; father to son in California.
In addition to her film work, Cohen is a Lecturer at Harvard Law School, where she earned a degree. Cohen also examined the evolution of the marijuana business in the Op-Doc “The Fight Over Medical Marijuana” from 2012, and the feature-length “Code of the West” from the same year.
To learn more about “Weed & Wine,” visit its website here, no trailer is available yet.