September 30, 2010 at 1:00 am

Tom Long

Review: 'Cash Crop': Dude, this bud's for you

The film focuses on California's marijuana "industry." (Steven Krause)

If ever there was a film expected to be spacey, casual, cool and somewhat, er, disjointed, it's "Cash Crop."

"Cash Crop," you see, is a film about marijuana. Medicinal marijuana, mostly, but dude, it also looks at how buds are grown, who's growing the buds, the spiritual side of pot and ... wait, what were we talking about?

Oh, yeah, "Cash Crop."

In many ways this is something of a groundbreaking documentary in that no one in it is identified by name. This is understandable when you're talking to a guy with a marijuana plantation, but even the straight folks are just given titles like The Author, The Sheriff, The Congressman, etc.

Even the hero, or guide, of the movie is nameless. He's just a longhair -- let's call him, for obvious reasons, The Dude, who walks through life barefoot.

He takes the viewer on a somewhat random road trip through the world of California pot, starting in San Diego, going up through Santa Barbara, then to Santa Cruz.

He wanders over toward Chico for a while but then heads for Northern California and the heart of the matter -- Mendocino and Humboldt counties, where pot growing is the area's central business.

Factual information is a little sketchy, but billions of dollars worth of marijuana is grown in this Emerald Triangle annually. According to the film, pot is California's largest agricultural product.

The Dude obviously has some good connections and he travels to various ganga plantations. There are some ominous rumblings about gangster-types moving in to pot paradise, but mostly people seem mellow.

Here and there someone gets busted, someone gets ripped off. But these are generally good, glazed folk trying to grow the best herb possible to relieve America's pain. New age heroes.

As glassy-eyed as the whole film is, filmmaker Adam Ross does manage to catch some of the upstart spirit behind the burgeoning medicinal marijuana industry. As a result good vibrations are achieved even if this is the most laid-back documentary ever made.

According to the film's website, "Cash Crop" won the High Times World Marijuana Film Festival. That about says it all.

That and, you know, far out.

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The film focuses on California's marijuana "industry." (Steven Krause)
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