Why We Made The Moneytree

Alan & Christopher at the initial release outside The Lark Theater in Marin County (Sept 1991)

Alan & Christopher at the initial release outside The Lark Theater in Marin County (Sept 1991)

In 1986 there was no 'medical marijuana,' no legal cannabis, no doctor’s scripts, no dispensaries. Reagan was President and 'three strikes you're out' was our government’s drug policy.

My father and I were outraged by the harsh prison sentences given those arrested for simple marijuana possession, or for growing a few cannabis plants in their back yard. In fact, I myself received a felony conviction - for a couple of small plants and eight seedlings.

We both had loved ones criminalized for their attempts to use cannabis to help them withstand cancer chemotherapy or toxic medical treatments for AIDS. We knew it was unjust, and we were mad as hell - and that’s why we made The Moneytree.

 
If you make a movie about a bank robber, well that’s a movie about a bank robber; but if you actually rob a bank in the movie… that’s a very different film.
— Christopher Dienstag
 

We didn’t want to - with all due respect - make another Cheech & Chong joint-toking movie. We wanted to make an entertaining film that still took on the real issues in life – including liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It was an act of protest and of civil disobedience. It may sound crazy now, but in those days The Moneytree scared everyone; it was 'real' - and so were the plants.

 

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