When this festival was first held in 2015, the organizers hoped to reduce the stigma that was associated with marijuana use. Recreational marijuana was recently made legal in 10 states and this year’s festival may be the last right before New York joins these other states and become the latest state to lift the prohibition of marijuana.
The founder and CEO of High N.Y, Michael Zaytsev said,” I know that this is only, but the beginning and it is a very exciting time that we are in.” He claims that the first event received a very warm welcome from the marijuana community but due to the stigma surrounding marijuana meant that not all filmmakers could attend.
He continued to say,” people are excited but there are some filmmakers who were not true to themselves as they are now. Some filmmakers, however, do not mind having their names associated with the festival.
2019 Legislative Agenda
New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in December outlined his agenda for 2019 to legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana. Once this passes this would mean a significant shift in the pot culture for the whole country as a whole.
Michael Zaytsev said that the legislative agenda will pass but not much is expected overnight. He believes that there is a lot of education to be passed on and part of the festival’s goal is to change the marijuana lifestyle into a more normal lifestyle.
The biggest misconception according to Zaytsev is that marijuana alters the consciousness of people. He claimed that the plant has more benefits rather than negative effects that are not being taken advantage of as they much as they should be.
Films in the NYC Cannabis Film Festival intend to depict a non-stereotypical view of the marijuana culture as others tackle other topics altogether.