Screening of “The Other Side of Cannabis” December 16, 6-8 pm at the Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier, VT. Discussion with medical and mental health professionals will follow.

Contact: Ann Gilbert agilbert@cvndc.org – 802-223-4949 or, Catherine Antley cagi@sover.net

The new award-winning documentary by Producer/Director Jody Belsher will be screened at Kellogg Hubbard Library on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:00 pm. It is free and open to the public. Teens, families and community members are encouraged to attend.

Central Vermont New Directions Coalition focuses on health and wellness among youth and families in Washington County and supports prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and abuse. With community concern around addiction, academic struggles, crime and mental health, CVNDC is sponsoring this film in an effort to keep kids safe and healthy.

With the increased legalization and normalization of marijuana in society today, the film’s goal is to illustrate how these risks exist for Adolescents, Teenagers, and Young Adults. The documentary is edited into sections: Stories, Addiction, Family, Why Use, School, Consequences, Perception, Financial Effects, Mental Health Psychosis, Today’s Marijuana and the Brain, It’s Just Pot, Marijuana as a Gateway, Physical Effects and Recovery.

Today’s marijuana is not what it used to be. It is significantly more potent and some youth are more vulnerable to adverse effects.

The film is not about legalization or the medicinal value of marijuana – both have their valid points, according to the film’s producer. “Regardless of one’s view, the aim is to educate about the risks to help young people make healthy, informed decisions that may influence their lives forever.” The documentary explains how most young people believe the marijuana they are using is medicinal – regardless of its content. They are unaware of the dangerously high levels of THC, the pesticides sprayed on many of the crops, the addiction rate, the potential for mental illness – ranging from depression to anxiety and even psychosis, as well as the physical effects that include lung issues, heart, cognitive and other brain effects. Marijuana as a stepping stone has become even more pronounced as the drug growers have increased the level of THC as user’s tolerance levels have risen.

Belsher’s own son experienced a traumatic outcome from his use of marijuana. Now in recovery, he is interviewed in the film, explaining some of the difficulties he’s faced as a result of his use. The 72-minute documentary features interviews with Harvard researchers, neuroscientists, rehab directors, counselors and numerous other professionals, as well as many personal stories of those who have experienced the negative effects of marijuana.

The film is an independent project, funded through contributions and not influenced by any organizations or political affiliations. Its sole purpose is to educate.

This is the first of CVNDC’s film series. The Hungry Heart will be shown at Montpelier High School auditorium on January 19 at 6:30 pm. The Opiate Effect will be shown in February. For more information: www.othersideofcannabis.com/.