Its Relevance Today: A FILM AHEAD OF ITS TIME
The Moneytree was the first film to directly address the political and social stigma around marijuana in the late 1980's during the Reagan administration. Up until that time, America's experience of weed at the cinema was the hyperbolic Reefer Madness or stereotypical stoner films which were high on humor, but avoided the real stories of personal and societal challenges that users and growers faced. No film dared touch upon the nascent, but controversial use of marijuana for medical purposes. To quote the Village Voice, the film was "...square in the legal danger zone..."
Cannabis is and always has been a very valuable resource for food, fiber, plastic, and medicine and pleasure. Today, with most states looking closely at legalization, one could imagine that the persecution of growers and users will soon be a thing of the past. However, the truth is that until there is a national referendum and weed becomes legal nation-wide, people are still being arrested and convicted on minor possession charges every day.
Add to that the reality that the current administration could reverse the hard-won advances of the past 30 years and you'll understand why we think that The Moneytree is more timely than ever as a cautionary tale. This film, told from the perspective of a guerilla-grower, and shot on location at an undisclosed 'garden' in Marin County, CA is a reminder of the struggles and dangers of the bad old days....