Growing the Pot is a documentary film about the town of Collie in the South West of Australia. This film will explore the impact and complications over a year on the townspeople’s lives as the town changes from black coal to green cannabis. There are a wealth of intriguing stories. From the generational coal mining families worried about their financial survival to a new wave of careers available to struggling country teenagers and the vocal anti-cannabis townsfolk who are concerned about the people that “drugs” will bring to town to those that are sceptical but may end up benefiting from cannabis-based medicine.
For more than 90 years, the coal mining town of Collie has been helping power Western Australia. The town's two mines produce WA's entire coal supply and fuel the state’s three power stations which churned out 70 per cent of the state's electricity. The demand for coal is plummeting and with the clock ticking on the future of Collie the state government has stepped in with a $20million Collie Future fund to transition the town into the 21st Century and beyond.
There’s “healthy scepticism” about making the transition to clean energy and diversifying into new industries like tourism. A boilermaker in a coal mine is going to have trouble picturing themselves in making coffee for people on bike trails, for instance. Surprisingly, there is one niche industry that has the potential to transform the town entirely – Cannabis.
Within the town of Collie, the company Cannaponics is pinning its hopes and dreams that it too has a horse in this race. The film follows founder Rod Zakostelsky as he navigates moving from the city to Collie to create the company and the obstacles he comes up against. Will Rod successfully manage to open a completely sustainable medicinal cannabis facility in a town that doesn’t move as fast as him?