"The Life She Deserves" Documentary Film Screening


Nov. 5, 2018, 6pm to 7:30pm

Campus Location

Office/Remote Location

First Floor Auditorium


The Brookings Institution and Brookings Mountain West at UNLV invite you to screen a new documentary short-film, "The Life She Deserves: Medical Marijuana in the United States."

Produced by Brookings, “The Life She Deserves” is an intimate portrait of Jennifer Collins and her family’s struggle to find a treatment to control her debilitating epilepsy. Because her legal pharmaceutical treatments cause severe side effects, Jennifer and her mother moved across the country to Colorado to access medical marijuana. The therapy provides Jennifer and her family with the relief they once feared was unobtainable, but they are now faced with the stigma and legal uncertainty surrounding the use of medical cannabis.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with:

  • George Burroughs, Film Director, The Brookings Institution
  • John Hudak, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
  • Maritza Bermudez, VP Business Development, Cannabis Commerce Group Consulting

Speaker Biographies:

George Burroughs is the Creative Director in the Brookings Institution Office of Communications. In this role, he leads a team that collaborates with the Institution's scholars to develop dynamic products—through film and design. His own initiatives focus on storytelling. He has written and directed several award-winning projects, including a video that illustrates social mobility through LEGO, an animation unpacking ISIS's origins, and short documentaries examining climate change and economic mobility for Baltimore youth. Most recently he directed the Brookings Institution's first documentary, The Life She Deserves, which is an intimate portrait of a young epilepsy patient in the United States that finds relief with medical marijuana. He is a graduate of the Pratt Institute with a BFA in film.

John Hudak, Ph.D. is deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management and a senior fellow in Governance Studies. His research examines questions of presidential power in the contexts of administration, personnel, and public policy. Additionally, he focuses on campaigns and elections, legislative-executive interaction, and state and federal marijuana policy. John’s 2016 book, Marijuana: A Short History, offers a unique, up-to-date profile of how cannabis emerged from the shadows of counterculture and illegality to become a serious, even mainstream, public policy issue and source of legal revenue for both businesses and governments. His 2014 book, Presidential Pork: White House Influence over the Distribution of Federal Grants, demonstrates that pork-barrel politics occurs beyond the halls of Congress. Presidents capitalize on their discretionary funding authority to target federal dollars to swing states in advance of presidential elections. This research explores the balance between political control and bureaucratic expertise in the delivery of public policy. He holds a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Connecticut and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Vanderbilt University.

Maritza Bermudez is an experienced executive with over a decade of diverse business experience, gained while working at publicly traded multinational companies within the insurance, gaming, retail, and technology sectors. Maritza is a passionate cannabis activist and patient advocate who served as the Industry Liaison for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in support of Question 2. She is an active business member for Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association and National Cannabis Industry Association, where she demonstrated her commitment towards changing social, cultural and political stigma by participating as Nevada representative during NCIA’s Lobby Days held in Washington D.C. Maritza holds a Master of Accounting degree from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin. She is also a licensed Notary Public for the State of Nevada.

Admission Information

This event is free and open to the public.

Contact Information

Brookings Mountain West
Caitlin Saladino

More info on this event

External Sponsor

Brookings Mountain West (Special Events)

Brookings Institution