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What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? A Tribute to Len Richmond

Today we were devastated to hear that Len Richmond sadly passed away back in 2014 and wanted to honour an inspirational man we had the privilege to interview here at ISMOKE back in 2011.

Len Richmond Obituary 

Len Richmond (August 6, 1943 – February 10, 2014) went to the great pot farm in the sky far too soon at 70 following a short illness in his beloved Santa Monica, CA. Len was a sublimely talented playwright, author, filmmaker, journalist and Renaissance Man with an inimitable, spectacularly quirky style. His abundant credits included the iconic & award-winning British comedy series “Agony” (1979-’81); the acclaimed indie romantic comedy “A Dirty Little Business” (1998); and the groundbreaking documentaries “Everything Bad is Good” (2009) and “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” (2010). A proud gay man long before it came into fashion, Len helped to drive America’s evolution from homophobia to wide acceptance and equality as co-editor of the 1973 story anthology “The Gay Liberation Book” and a lifetime of activism. He also worked diligently to promote cannabis as the wonder drug of our time, capable of everything from killing malignancy to beating back the blues. But the whole of Len clearly dwarfed the sum of his parts. To know him was to get swept up into his eccentric, audacious vortex of consumption, hedonism, fussbudgetry, and germ warfare. Len embraced his fascinating life as a compulsive buffet of smells and tastes, escapades and thrills, convictions and neuroses – once earning him the description of being “rather like a narcotic Tigger.” He was hilarious, charming, fearless, brilliant, generous, loving, thoughtful, sweet, soulful, giving, entitled, demanding, intense, obsessive, self-centered and utterly exasperating. But Len never permitted his life to be lived on anything short of his own terms. At the end of the day, that’s more than most of us ever get. He is survived by his adoring life partner of 13 years, Kyle Cunningham of Santa Monica; devoted sister Romi Gordon of Seattle, WA, and brother Ray Richmond of Studio City; bemused brother-in-law Joel Gordon of Seattle and sister-in-law Jill Holden of Studio City; beloved aunt Bernice Fisher of Calabasas; and too many loving friends and honorary family members to count. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Len’s name to NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 20, 2014

About the Interview:

We starting speaking to Len a couple of years after What if cancer/” title=”View all articles about Cannabis Cured Cancer here”>cancer/” title=”View all articles about Cannabis Cured Cancer here”>cancer/” title=”View all articles about Cannabis Cured Cancer here”>Cannabis Cured Cancer was released. He was always very warm and always had time for myself and Jason Reed who conducted interviews with several of our guests.

We were also lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Len’s follow-up script “Marijuana and the Mind“, a documentary he was making that he had planned to release, but which sadly will likely never see the light of day.

The documentary covers the effects cannabis has on your mind and one theme, in particular, has stuck with us since we read the unfinished script back in 2012 – Cannabis doesn’t make you lazy. It just makes you realise that you should be doing things that make you happy, and if something isn’t making you happy, you are less likely to want to do it. This cannot be blamed on the cannabis itself, and Len’s idea speaks to me as I have never struggled with motivation to complete tasks when high, because I love what I do.

RIP Len, you will be missed, mate.

Tyler Green

The interview below was originally published in issue 7 of ISMOKE Magazine:

We are pleased to welcome the one and only Len Richmond!  Len is responsible for ‘Agony’ one of England’s most successful sitcoms, as well as “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer,” a documentary that is extremely important to the cannabis campaign.  ISMOKE sat down with Len to talk medicine, weed and general chit chat!

Hello Len, welcome to ISMOKE Magazine. Your film “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?” is considered a vital resource for the cannabis campaign, what inspired you to create it?

I created it because I love cannabis—it has made me the man I am today. I’m very mellow, healthy, and creative thanks to using marijuana for nearly 50 years. In spite of smoking nearly every day for those fifty years (I’m 67 now), I’m cancer free and in perfect health. This is because, as the doctors in my film point out, marijuana kills cancer cells.

I’ve been a successful television writer in England, America, and France—and every script I wrote, I wrote stoned. So, thank you marijuana for my career.

I lived in London for eighteen years and smoked a lot of crappy cannabis. Whatever I could get really, and usually it was appalling quality. I miss my British friends and the London social life, but I don’t miss the cannabis available there. It was so hard to get a hold of anything decent—never mind organic. Now I go to my local medical marijuana dispensary here in Los Angeles, where I can buy the highest quality, organic marijuana, hash, edibles, and tinctures for every occasion. They even give me a senior discount!

Do you have a favorite strain of cannabis?

“Romulan” for pain. “OG Kush” for sex. “White Rhino” when I have a lot of work to do and need an energy boost. “Sour Diesel” for my boyfriend’s depression (it works better for him than any pharmaceutical drug). I buy hash oil for its cancer preventative concentration of chemicals. It’s also great for my all-day bike rides because it lasts 8-10 hours. I simply stick a toothpick in the hash oil, brown the tip, and let the goo dissolve under my tongue– it starts working in about twenty minutes.

So that’s my life in paradise. I take bike rides along the beach, have a readily available selection of cannabis for every desire and ailment, and I make my own documentaries about what I love best (aside from my boyfriend, of course). Also being in Hollywood allows me to use sympathetic Hollywood talent in my pot films. “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” is narrated by Emmy-winner Peter Coyote, with a pot puppet short featuring the voices of Roseanne Barr and the great Malcolm McDowell!

Please tell our readers a bit about yourself, and how you got into television and documentary making?

I got into television because I’m a gay entertainment junkie who has always dreamed of being part of show business. I failed as an actor, but when I had the chance to co-write “Agony” with Anna Raeburn, we made it about our lives. I was (and still am) an out-of-the-closet gay, left-wing, pot smoker. That’s why virtually all the main characters in “Agony” (gay and straight) smoke cannabis. And nobody puts them down for it.

Documentaries were something I realized I could produce on my own computer in my own bedroom with my own friends (with a little help from Hollywood). As producer, writer, and director, I could make, “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer”, with my small savings and a personal passion for weed—without having it diluted or censored by anyone.

“What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” is the film I most want to be remembered for. I truly believe that this truth-telling documentary has the potential to open minds, save lives, and change the world.

Do you know many medicinal marijuana patients?  How does cannabis help them in their everyday lives?

All I know are medicinal marijuana patients—since all my friends smoke pot and they’re all healed on some level by this extraordinary herb. As my film documents, marijuana is the most important healing plant on the planet. I just wish I could get my unhappy, anxiety-ridden mother-in-law to use cannabis. It would vastly improve her life. She would finally (and maybe for the only time) relax, feel good, and stop obsessing over the trivial bullshit of her life. It might also get her to quiet down enough to watch an entire TV program without talking through most of it. Sometimes I think marijuana is being wasted on the wrong people. The really uptight, repressed souls that are incapable of enjoying life are the ones that really need weed.

In the UK, these people would be considered criminals for using their medicine, even terminal cancer patients.  How does that make you feel?

How does it make me feel? Raging anger, but also genuine pity for the policeman or moral crusader whose relative may be dying of something horrible, like brain cancer. It’s tragic that governments refuse to consider cannabis as a serious cancer treatment— even though it’s especially effective for brain tumors. The people who want to outlaw cannabis are hurting themselves, quite literally, as well as the rest of us.

How long have you used Cannabis?

I smoked my first joint when I was 21. A waitress at this rock club where I worked (the Troubadour) wanted to seduce me. She used a joint as her weapon. Even though I am 100% gay, she took me back to her place, got me high, and we started making out. I never knew a kiss could feel so amazing. Her weed made me so randy that I probably would have had sex with her, had the police not showed up at her door.

My first time high and the cops are pounding on her front door. Frightened, she asked me to stay with her while she opened up. All I could think about was that my pupils would be dilated and the cops would see it and I would end up in jail. The cops did, in fact, shine their Rodney-King-beating flashlights directly in our eyes. But fortunately, all they wanted was for her to move her car because it was blocking a neighbour’s driveway.

The second time I got high was at the home of my boss, Doug Weston, who owned the Troubadour where I worked. He had invited some of us waiters back to his cool sixties pad to smoke dope and listen to a new singer he had just discovered called Joni Mitchell. For some reason Simon and Garfunkel were there too. Garfunkel was groping a beautiful Italian man as they sat together in a single armchair. Paul Simon was pissed off with his singing partner and kept glaring at him throughout the night. Because I was stoned, Simon and Garfunkel’s wordless argument seemed so surreal, as if I was dreaming it.

That night, the experience of listening to Joni Mitchell’s first album while stoned, changed my perception of music forever. Joni’s guitar sounded like cathedral bells, crystal clear, enveloping me in their heavenly sound. From that night on, I always lit up a joint before I listened to music.

Do you have any more projects in the pipeline?  Any involving the sacred herb?

I have started work on my next documentary called, “Marijuana and the Mind”. Since cannabis has had such a profound effect on my psyche, I wanted to analyze and understand that mental process. I’m going to ask scientists exactly what happens inside our brains while we’re tripping, listening to music, having sex, or being creative—all those things that pot has the potential to improve. Since marijuana tends to intensify everything, it can make you paranoid if you smoke too much, but it can also help you write a novel, create a painting, or imagine a new scientific theory. I will go back in history to see how famous writers, poets, and painters used cannabis to create their art. I also want to know why it helps my boyfriend with his depression.

There is amazing work being done by a few brave doctors who are using cannabis on children who are severely autistic. Its cannabinoid chemicals appear to have turned some of these kid’s lives around. Then there’s the use of cannabis for traumatic stress syndrome. All issues I’ll cover in my next film.

Where can ISMOKE readers go to get a copy of your film, “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?”STONY ON STAGE

“What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” is available on AmazonUSA. It can also be ordered through my website, “Len Richmond”. You might want to check out the “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer – Official Site” on Facebook for the latest Film Festivals, free screenings, and YouTube links. The more DVD’s I can sell, the faster I can finance my next film!

It’s been great to have you here Len!

Watch What if Cannabis Cures Cancer

What if Cannabis Cured Cancer Press Release:

“WHAT IF CANNABIS CURED CANCER” wins 2010 Stony Award from High Times Magazine (featured in January 2011 issue).

FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST “I recommend an excellent documentary film, “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer,” by Len Richmond, which summarizes the remarkable research findings of recent years about the cancer-protective effects of novel compounds in marijuana.  Most medical doctors are not aware of this information and its implications for cancer prevention and treatment. The film presents compelling evidence that our current policy on cannabis is counterproductive.”– ANDREW WEIL, M.D.



Using original and archival footage, the 60 minute documentary presents highly convincing evidence that this forbidden herb has healing properties beyond any other plant on the planet— interacting as it does with the body’s own “endocannabinoid system” to keep us fit and disease-free. “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” explains how we are all born with a form of marijuana already in our bodies, and when pot is consumed, the “endocannabinoids” inside us—along with any cannabinoids we ingest—fit together like a key in a lock, thereby promoting the death of cancer cells without harming the body’s healthy cells. A powerful and eye-opening film about the future of cannabis—and perhaps even the future of medicine. Narrated by Emmy-winning actor, PETER COYOTE.


“One of the most polished, informative films on cannabis released in years.CULTURE MAGAZINE

  • Winner of the “Best Documentary” at the Williamsburg Film Festival.
  • Winner of the “Reel Peace Award” at the Berkeley Film Festival.
  • DVD’s have been provided to every member of the Los Angeles City Council, the Kansas State Legislature, the Marin County Board of Supervisors, and 100 selected members of Congress in Washington D.C.

YouTube Trailer:


Available on Amazon:


ISMOKE Interviews Jeff Ditchfield – Bud Buddies


Jeff Ditchfield is a cannabis caregiver and activist. He set up Bud Buddies UK in 2001 to give access to medicinal cannabis for seriously ill people across the UK, and from 2002-2007 Jeff Ditchfield also operated ‘The Beggars Belief’ Coffeeshop in North Wales (footage below).

After watching Project Storm, a film about Bud Buddies, Cannabis Oil and some of their patients we wanted to share Jeff’s story in a feature on ISMOKE, so we sat down with him to talk about medicine, the law, and all things cannabis:

ISMOKE Meets Lee Harris Owner of London’s Oldest Head Shop

ISMOKE Meets Lee Harris
On Friday we went to meet Lee Harris who runs Alchemy on Portobello Road – London’s Oldest Head Shop – which has been in operation for 45 years.  Lee Harris has been a cannabis activist and campaigner for over half a century, starting in back in 1967.  Lee also started Homegrown magazine back in 1977 which was the first dope magazine in Europe.

ISMOKE Interviews Greg de Hoedt, Chairman of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs Movement

A few years ago when we were releasing a monthly magazine Greg de Hoedt, (also known as Cure UK back then) wrote regular features for ISMOKE and formed part of our panel of cannabis experts discussing topics on a monthly basis. Nowadays Greg runs the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs movement, an organised cannabis community that is growing every day.

Formed in 2011, the UKCSC aims to unite and give guidance to the various Cannabis social clubs popping up all over the UK in varying forms, some holding smoke-friendly meet-ups for their users.

ISMOKE Interviews The Green Chef

This week we sat down with The Green Chef (also known as Indulgently Green UK), our newest writer and edibles creator, to discuss cooking with cannabis.

In the future, The Green Chef will be posting some of his great recipes up on ISMOKE Magazine for our readers, and we wanted to kick things off with an interview to introduce him to you all:

ISMOKE Interviews Remedy: Barcelona Cannabis Club

Cannabis social clubs are an important part of the legalisation movement here in the UK as they enable cannabis users to organise themselves, network and meet in a smoke-friendly environment. Out in Spain the cannabis clubs are a legal part of society, and this has led to many being set up, particularly in Barcelona.

A couple of weeks ago we interviewed Russ Hudson, an American living in Barcelona who talked about the situation with the country’s cannabis clubs. This week we sat down with Harry, the manager at Remedy, a cannabis club in Barcelona, to give more insight about how things are out there, and what it is like running a cannabis club in Barcelona.

ISMOKE Interviews London Grow Gang

London Grow Gang

London Grow Gang is a Cannabis horticulturist who we had the pleasure of meeting recently at a Cannabis Social event in London.

He’s a passionate grower, ensuring upmost quality in his strains and also carrying the tagline ‘Highly Organic’, which we thought was great.

We also thought it would be great for our readers if we sat down to interview London Grow Gang to discuss Cannabis, the law and horticulture.

Here’s What You Should Know About Barcelona Cannabis Clubs

Do You know about Barcelona Cannabis Clubs and how they operate?

Perception of cannabis worldwide is currently undergoing a massive shift. There are just too many good stories from across the globe to ignore and it is becoming increasingly difficult for media sources to try and push the old cannabis propaganda. Over the past week, we have seen (comparatively) positive cannabis features on both The Daily Mail and The Mirror asking whether legalisation may be the sensible way forward, and this shows just how much the media over here in the UK is beginning to shift.

As we continue our fight to legalise cannabis both for medicinal and recreational purposes in the UK, other countries are steaming ahead with the green industry.

One country that has had a legal cannabis scene for a few years now is Spain, where cannabis social clubs are legally allowed to operate on a private member’s club basis.

An Interview With A Cannabis Dealer

Mainly due to my area of study and activities with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, I spend a lot of my time writing and talking about drugs, government policies, and the effects of these on societies in general. I do this with little firsthand experience; I choose to keep my personal life separate from illicit drugs. So I thought I’d actually try meeting people involved with ‘illegal’ drugs. After making a number of phone calls, I managed to arrange to meet a cannabis dealer at a location that was neutral to us both.

I must admit, I was a little worried as I was travelling to meet them, I didn’t really know what to expect. When I arrived at the location I was met by “Joe” (name changed to hide identity), a rather friendly individual in their early 20s. For obvious reasons, at the beginning of our conversation Joe seemed a little reserved as he tried to gauge me, but after a while began to be more open with me.

ISMOKE Interviews: Watermelon Girl

Like all subcultures, cannabis has a multitude of levels. In the UK, we are perhaps more underground than the rest of the world, but in the North American regions, cannabis culture is alive and thriving. With movies dedicated to weed, publications, celebrities and all manner of pot endorsements, the lust for cannabis with our North American cousins is tangible.

ISMOKE Interviews: Elro Raps

This month, ISMOKE spoke to Ian Llewellyn-Rowe, also known as Elro Raps who has been getting some well-deserved attention in the music industry recently with his witty, funny rhymes – collaborating with the likes of Ed Sheeran and JME:

You’ve been generating a lot of well-deserved hype for your youtube videos, what got you into rapping and into the comical style you’ve become known for?

I did stand up comedy for a couple of years, and I also started writing rap music, but never really combined the two on stage, so I just wacked them on youtube and here we are now! I guess I just like trying to write in a different way to others.

What sort of music do you listen to and enjoy most?

I’m hip hop through and through to be honest. But I also love reggae, dance, grime… almost anything, although I don’t listen to much rock.

What’s the best thing about what you do?

Making a crowd buzz, and meeting people that you’ve never met who are big fans, that’s always a big buzz.

Where’s the best place you’ve been to?

Oohhhhh, Umm, I’d probably say Ibiza… I went there this summer with my mates and had an unbelievably good week partying in the sun. That place is dreamland.

So, do you smoke cannabis?

I’ve been known too… LOL

When did you get into it, and what do you like best about being high?

I guess lots of my mates smoke it and then I just tried it, and enjoyed it. I like how creative and weird (in a good way) I am. Me and my mates come up with stuff that people would never even contemplate. Its also relaxing if you’ve had a long day.

Do you remember the best experience you ever had while high?

I couldn’t really pick one particular one out, there’s so many good ones. Although watching the Streets live in Bristol after a spliff was pretty damn good.

Ever been to Amsterdam?

I haven’t

What do you think about the current laws surrounding cannabis in the UK?

I think its a bit ridiculous really, that police can come and hassle you when you’re not even bothering anyone but yourself. Its ridiculous. Police are not for me really.

Would you ever consider moving out to the states where you could get a medical card?

I’m not that desperate lol, I don’t like to smoke it too much anyway cos if I smoke too much, I just become even more lazy and unproductive and lazy, thats just my personality anyway so I don’t blame cannabis, but I try not to smoke too much too often.

How long have you been rapping for?

I’d say 3 years or so, but not particularly seriously. Only seriously the last 18 months or so.

What in your opinion is the best track you’ve done?

In terms of listenability, probably “My Eyes Are Red” (pretty fitting eh lol), I just messed about with beatboxing and vocal layers and people seem to find it catchy and listenable which makes me very happy. People appreciating my stuff, and saying things like “I always smoke a splif to your song” gives me tingles.

What’s your favourite 8 Bars of your own?

Hmmmmmm, my favourite… I was pretty proud of my bars about randomness. They seem to be popular too, I don’t really know to be honest, I’m proud of them all, I try not to put any bars out there if I’m not buzzing about them.

And finally, please tell us where we can find you online

You can find me on youtube by searching elro or elro raps. My youtube is my twitter is @elroraps and my Facebook fan page is “Elro Raps“.

Thanks for stopping by Elro!

Download Elro’s mixtape “Porcelain Corpse” for free now

Watch Elro in action:

ISMOKE Interviews: Howard Marks

Hello Howard – thanks for stopping by.  It is a pleasure to have you here at ISMOKE Magazine.  We are very familiar with your amazing story – but for the benefit of (pardon the pun) some of our greener readers, how would you say cannabis has had an impact on your life?

By freeing my mind, making me very rich, and giving me a social agenda.

When did you begin smoking cannabis and who/what put you onto it?

In 1964 during my first year as a nuclear physics undergraduate in Oxford. I was 19.

How do you tend to use your cannabis?

As a constant companion.

Just how big was your involvement in the cannabis or hash trade in Britain back in the 1980s?

At the very beginning of that decade, I imported fifteen tons of Colombian marijuana into the west coast of Ireland. I think it still holds the record for the largest known successful importation of cannabis into Europe, although I’m not 100% sure. But it was big.

Was there much paranoia involved when you were an international drugs smuggler?

Not for me. I was on the run for most of the time, so I knew they were trying to get me. It wasn’t paranoia.

Indica or Sativa?

Indica, for sure.

Do you have a favourite strain?

My favourite hashish is Nepalese from a place called Mustang. I can’t really tell the difference between one strong skunk and an equally strong skunk as my taste buds are fucked.

Where in the world is your favourite place to smoke cannabis?

The Himalayas.

We saw you took a trip out to Jamaica and chilled with some Rastas. How does their way of living and using cannabis compare with ours over here in the UK?

They revere and worship the herb but seem to waste a lot of the smoke. Only 5% of Jamaicans are rastas but 66% of Jamaicans smoke. I like smoking with fishermen more than poets.

These days you are a speaker, author and celebrity figure.  Back in the day your life was much different – which do you prefer?

I preferred the life of a smuggler, but I have absolutely no complaint about my life these days.

Do you think you’ll use cannabis for the rest of your life?


What do you think the benefits would be if better cannabis education was given here in the UK instead of the propaganda/scare tactics currently employed by our Government?

All sorts of benefits, in particular, better and cheaper dope, and the elimination of social stigma and criminal mantles.

How did it feel to have a film made about your life?


What cannabis organisations are you involved in here in the UK?

At the moment, just NORML (UK).

Had you seen ISMOKE magazine before this interview?

Yes, but can’t remember where.

It seems as if in the past few years we have actually gone backwards as a nation, with more scare-stories and propaganda demonising cannabis than ever – where do you see us in ten years time?

No idea, Mate. My balls aren’t the sort that are made from crystal.

Do you think it will ever be legal over here in the UK?

Yes, and I’ll continue to work for it, but God knows when it will happen.

Thanks for stopping by Howard, it’s been a pleasure to have you.

ISMOKE Interviews: Ebru

ISMOKE sat down with Emergine R&B singer Ebru – her new single “Mad” featuring Durrty Goodz is making waves in the UK Music scene..

Hey Ebru – thanks for joining us! First up, please give us a bit of background about who you are and what led you to make the awesome music that has caught ISMOKE’s attention recently?

I am a singer/songwriter/performer aka an all round Tina Turner Wannabe (without the Ike) who has been singing since I could mumble words as a baby. I met Marshall (One of the founding Godfather’s of music) of HITROOM recordings and we clicked straight away and began to create some amazing music together.


Where does the name Ebru come from?

EBRU is my real name, it originates in Turkey;  where I was born, not very common here in the UK but if you type my name into google you will see how popular it is back home. Strangely enough… it’s direct translation in English is ‘Marbelling’.

What genre would you label your tunes, and which so far has been your favourite?

Well many may call it “soulful pop!” I don’t know… I like what my team say: “This can’t leave the studio unless it BANGS!”. My favourite songs to date is probably ‘MAD’ or ‘ECHO’! I always sing these two to myself randomly, even forgetting they are my own sometimes!

What genres of music do you enjoy the most?

I don’t really have a particular favourite, I love loads of genres like gospel, neo soul, indie, rnb, jazz. I love it as long as “it BANGS!”

In “MAD” you collaborate with Dutty Goodz, one of ISMOKE Magazine’s top artists for his song “Marijuana”. How was that?

Marshall worked with Durrty Goodz some time back and he actually produced Marijuana (the guitarist – that’s him playing in a church hall with a beautiful violinist). So I asked Marshall to see if he would jump on it, he agreed so we got in the studio and I just watched this guy do his thing! He is extremely talented and just gets the job done and I mean DONE! His work ethic is something to be admired!

Are you a cinema go-er or a stay-at-home kind of girl?

I’m more of a stay at home girl, wrapped up in a duvet, watching old VHS re-runs of Sister Sister with a plate of Birdseye chicken dippers… Not forgetting the smig’in of BBQ sauce!  BOOM

What’s your favourite film?

I recently watched ‘The Raid’ – that was HOT, it kept me engaged throughout the whole film, I would definitely watch it again.