On October 1st, 2010 Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a landmark bill into law decriminalizing possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in the State of California. The measure is likely to be welcomed like a cloud of fresh smoke not only by stoners, but by local farmers as well, given that pot is already America's #1 crop. The Skanner News Video: Trailer 'Cash Crop'
At least that is the thesis of Cash Crop, an alternately enlightening and entertaining documentary by Adam Ross. The intrepid director went underground for a year and a half to take a look at exactly who is growing the popular herb. He devoted the bulk of his attention to Mendocino, a lush county in the famed Emerald Triangle where such strains of particularly potent pot as Purple Urkel, Kentucky Bluegrass, AK47, XXX, U2, Jack Hare and Kush are being secretly cultivated.
We hear from one burnt out hippie with a license to sell medicinal marijuana that his profession "is a business, just like selling hamburger and fries." And it's hard to argue with his logic when you factor in the observations of an equally-blasé sheriff inclined to look the other way, who concedes that without the $10 billion generated by the crop Mendocino might be a ghost town, because the fishing and sawmill industries have essentially disappeared from the region.
The film goes on to advocate total legalization in order to put an end to the escalating turf wars for control of the grass game as Mexican street gangs migrate to the northern California countryside in search of fertile land. The picture contrasts that predicament with that of white Rastafarians, relatively-mellow fellows who say they imbibe the herb for spiritual reasons.
After offering medicinal, religious, monetary and recreational rationales, Cash Crop urgently concludes that it's high time, pardon the expression, that California stop squandering tax dollars by prosecuting and incarcerating folks for mass-producing marijuana. Are you listening, Governator?
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 84 Minutes
Distributor: Sierra Films