We all remember the viral video sensation of “Grandmas Smoking Weed for the First Time,” where a trio of grandmothers have an intense introductory smoke sesh with hilarious results.
Cut to a year later, and “This is Happening” has put a different spin on the now-infamous smoke sesh. The indie comedy, which hits iTunes and all major video-on-demand platforms today, released a clip of co-stars Cloris Leachman (Estelle) and Mickey Sumner (Megan) exclusively with The Cannabist in the above video.
As grandmother and granddaughter, Estelle and Megan share a joint in the short, sweet scene, epitomizing the way weed bonds together those who partake — and excludes those who do not. Enter James Wolk (Philip) as Megan’s annoying, uptight big brother who is sent out on an errand to a closed drug store so they can indulge.
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The story is built around the siblings’ trip to Palm Springs to relocate their grandmother into an assisted living facility; it serves as a cover for a large marijuana buy, and Megan’s drug-dealing character doesn’t do the “stoner chick” stereotype any favors. But “This is Happening” writer/director Ryan Jaffe is in favor of legalization and made marijuana a central theme because it was “true to his experience” when developing the script.
“We reveal that Philip is the first one to ever get Megan high. So he’s not against weed. What he’s against is using weed as an excuse to not face her problems,” Jaffe told The Cannabist on Monday via email from Los Angeles. “Philip believes changing that behavior is what will help her grow up. By the way, he has a lot of growing up to do too; he just doesn’t smoke weed anymore, at least regularly.”
What ensues in the film is a wild chase in pursuit of Estelle, who learns of her grandchildren’s plan, and of the five pounds of marijuana Megan stashed in her grandma’s trunk.
“I think we highlight pot almost in a mainstream way — a weed movie that’s not a stoner movie,” said Jaffe. “And I think that’s timely because people are seeing a shift in the perception of marijuana use. I also hope they legalize recreational use in California sooner than later!”
After a world premiere at the Portland Film Festival in 2015 and a run at select art-house theaters last fall, “This is Happening” is now available on iTunes and VOD.