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Why ‘Waldo on Weed’ May Open Your Eyes, Heart

The debate over CBD oil's benefits power this touching documentary

Claims of CBD‘s positive effects on human suffering in a fallen world are many.

Think everything from cancer cures to the halting of seizures in children with conditions as serious as Dravet Syndrome. And all these “results” can be found on the Internet.

“Waldo on Weed” is the new documentary from Tommy Avallone, who in 2018 brought us “The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man.” That film was so good that I bought it along with a T-shirt.

“Waldo on Weed” is a more serious film for Avallone, a film that works hard to find the good in a plant that’s been demonized by both politicians and people of faith for the last 70 years.

Waldo On Weed | Trailer

The film centers around Brian and Danielle Dwyer who welcome a 13-lb. baby boy named Waldo into their family. One of the most original looking and cute babies I’ve ever seen, viewers are immediately on his side.

The film opens when, just months into Waldo’s life, the happy family discover he has a rare form of eye cancer. Some of what follows is hard to watch, especially if you’re a parent. That’s what made me care about “Waldo on Weed.”

The narrator of the story is Waldo’s father, Brian, who documents the journey from his child’s cancer diagnosis to recovery with his modest video camera. 

However, the road to cannabis treatment, in conjunction with Waldo’s traditional medical treatment, isn’t an easy one for the Dyer family. They live in Pennsylvania where, at the time, medical cannabis was illegal.

FAST FACT: Dr. Junella Chin, a medical cannibas expert, says CBD oil won’t get anyone high. “You won’t feel sedated or altered in any way.”

Dad and a couple of sidekick friends take matters into their own hands and head to California where, through the help of some Hollywood pot superstars, Brian gets what he’s looking for and smuggles it home via UPS.

The chemotherapy and stealth cannabis treatments go well and Waldo recovers, but there’s a twist not to be spoiled here. It’s worth the rental of this honest little film, a family drama that becomes a road trip movie to uncover a medical mystery.

It’s also a film filled with wishful thinking.

Wishful thinking about a drug that may be a cure to an illness, or dare I say a new virus, can get you in a lot of trouble with the media. But not in this case, cannabis is a flower and this happy-hippy-family are in love with it.

So much so that, at times, Brian seems a little too optimistic.

I can only watch a movie through the prism of my world view, and that is of person of faith. So
for me the tension between Brian and his father over his Christian upbringing really moved me, even if the subject is only briefly mentioned.

That sort of faith-based thinking from Dad, mixed with Brian’s unrealistic approach to the topic, immediately puts cannabis in the Garden of Eden where things can only be good or bad and the one holding the weed is the Devil.

But no matter what obstacle shows up in the Dyer family adventure they hold true to their family values and clearly love one another. Every time the Dyers ask the universe for help. It shows up.

I’m sure Brian’s father calls it by a different name.

The film is balanced and has all the usual documentary film pro and con talking heads. I’ll never own “Waldo on Weed” on Blu-ray, but I liked it.

And if they’re selling hemp T-shirts, I’ll take one in Large.


Joseph Granda is the founder of Rebel Faith Films. His directorial debut, “The Healing Garden,” is expected for a late 2020 release. Mr. Granda has a long history on the stage, in film and in the art world. You can learn more about him at JosephGranda.com.

Photo Courtesy: Double Windsor Films
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