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'The Blair Witch Project' actress' life goes to pot

January 20, 2012|By L. Thompson
  • The cover of growgirl, by Heather Donahue.
The cover of growgirl, by Heather Donahue.

You might not guess it from the small line of maybe 10 to 20 people, but that woman in the light green shirt and brown knee-high boots? She was the star of one of the most successful scary movies ever made, though she doesn't necessarily want to remind you of that.

“I'm sure somewhere on the cover of this book will be the words ‘The Blair Witch Project,’ and believe me, I will have tried to prevent that,” writes Heather Donahue in her new memoir entitled, yes, “Growgirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot” (Gotham Books), which chronicles her new life, begun in 2007, as a marijuana farmer in a small Northern California community.

“I fought as hard as I could!” she insisted last Sunday of the movie mention in the subtitle. “It is what it is. It's so funny because there's so little of that in the book. It's just a memoir about reinventing oneself and finding your place in the world.”

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And yet here she sat, in front of a glass case containing mini-replicas of Leatherface and Karloff's Frankenstein, signing books at Burbank horror-merchandise store Dark Delicacies, for fans in “Hobo with a Shotgun” hoodies. She said they don't usually leave disappointed, even without many “Blair Witch” anecdotes in the book.

“If they're coming to it as a basic fellow human being and American in this tough economy, then I think they will have no problem connecting with it,” she said. “There is terror, paranoia and lots of thrills ... but not in the [movie] genre way.”

At the time she wrote it, there was considerable optimism about the Obama administration's stance on medical marijuana, some of which has eroded in recent years. With her uncensored description of how growers do what they do, did Donahue ever feel like she gave away too much?

“I guess I always worry that I reveal too much,” she said with a laugh, “but I also felt like it's time to talk about the marijuana business in a way that makes sense, and a way that can maybe help it from being just completely corporatized once legalization happens.”

She remains optimistic that will happen soon, and agrees with pro-pot group NORML's switch from encouraging medical marijuana to advocating across-the-board legalization.

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