Dubbed the “King of Pot” by National Geographic’s Lisa Ling, Dr. Sam Mellace has been one of Canada’s leading medical marijuana advocates since he was first prescribed cannabis to treat pain and liver complications from a brutal car accident. Like many of his patients, Sam is also a cancer survivor, and has treated thousands of people living with a variety of pain, disease, and illnesses with his cannabis oils, extracts, and other remedies. He believes in establishing a national framework for Dignified Access, and further advocates for a Royal Commission on Canadian cannabis policy and legality that will enshrine Dignified Access in future legislation. He famously (and legally) smoked a joint in the House of Commons in 2010 to protest the government’s failed medical-marijuana policies.
In less than two years, Sam Mellace experienced a life-threatening car accident, a prescription opioid addiction, diabetes and cancer. He was an ex-convict who was looking to turn around his life, but instead he found himself fighting for it.
Meanwhile, cannabis was a drug that was slowly turning its fortunes around, too, from a history of stigma and prohibition to a new era of curiosity, openness and incredible medical science.
So Sam did a thing that surprised himself: he bought a farm in British Columbia and started growing weed. He was one of the first to be licensed under Canada’s medical marijuana law, and because of his unusual combination of pain and disease, he won the right to grow more cannabis than anyone in North America.
Then he started to discover the flaws in the system—the gaps between bureaucracy and decency, between education and criminalization, between dignity and shame. So he began to learn, build a community, and fight for patients’ rights. And in doing so, he found an enemy even more dangerous than the ones from his criminal past: an ugly conspiracy of power, ignorance and greed that was threatening real lives.
The story of Sam Mellace, like the story of cannabis, is the story of a struggle for redemption, understanding, and justice. Standing in the way of all of that is the Great Cannabis Conspiracy.