Rapper/marijuana mogul Berner has hired Daniel Ragussis, writer/director of “Imperium,” to direct the upcoming crime thriller “Packs” about the rise of “designer” marijuana, Variety has learned exclusively.
Francisco Ordoñez will write the screenplay based on a story by Berner, also known as Gilbert Milam, Jr. Berner will be financing the development and production of the film through his company, Bigger Business Entertainment.
The film tells the story of the rise of powerful designer marijuana across state lines in a multi-million dollar illegal drug trade that transformed the marijuana experience in America during the past decade. Berner become a marijuana industry entrepreneur with his own medical marijuana dispensaries such as Cookies SF, Collective Efforts, and H2C Cookies 707.
“We made whole markets go from buying Mexican weed for $40/ounce to buying Cali shit for $400/ounce,” Berner said. “It was like the coke wave of the ’70s and ’80s, and Northern California was a major part of it. With prohibition coming to an end, it’s only right to let the world know how it all really went down.”
California’s Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act, was approved in 1996, allowing the use of medical cannabis. California’s Proposition 64, allowing use of recreational marijuana, was approved by voters in November.
Ragussis made his feature directing debut with “Imperium,” inspired by the undercover work of FBI agent Michael German. The film starred Daniel Radcliffe and Toni Collette and was released by Lionsgate Premiere in August.
Ragussis said, “Berner has the ability to provide an exclusive and authentic view of the designer marijuana smuggling trade, a gritty, cinematic world we’ve never seen on screen before.”
Ordoñez was a co-producer and story consultant on “Imperium.” He is currently developing his first feature film, “Asher.”
Ragussis is represented by UTA and Steve Crawford and Sara Bottfeld at Industry Entertainment. Both Ragussis and Ordoñez are represented by Mitch Smelkinson at Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher.