This article was originally published on April 20th, 2011. We’re excited to announce “The Green Rush” is now available via On-Demand for a limited time!
Ah, 4/20…Each year this infamous date rolls around, bringing heightened excitement for highschoolers, philosophy students and Dead Heads around the country. With my stoner years far behind me (like most rebellious youths, I went through a rough period during which I was comforted solely by my Birkenstocks and the feeling that Joni Mitchell was the only person who understood me), this day now passes me by with little acknowledgement. Alas, not this year.
Inspired by the buzz around the IndieFlix office, I watched the documentary The Green Rush in honor of this “holiday.” Since I couldn’t embrace the full experience (at 25, I don’t know where to find weed if I wanted it), I instead settled for a couple of Blue Moons, my drunk roommate and a vegan dinner.
However, I’m pleased to say the documentary itself is an honest look at growers in California. The interviewees, who wear bandanas to cover their faces and use false names throughout the film, are open about their ambitions and the details of their craft. Most don’t martyr themselves as working for some greater cause, but express that this simply a lifestyle and a way to make a living for themselves and their families.
The amount of work put into these growing fields, the potentially enormous pay-off, and the hardships faced by these outlaws are the most interesting factors of the film. In the opening scene, two growers find themselves running for cover as a helicopter flies overhead. Another grower–called Blue throughout the film– returns to his field one morning to discover his long-time employee has deserted him, taking with him a bulk of the crop, which Blue estimates is a loss of roughly $70,000 to $80,000. Numbers like that have me considering heading to the North Californian hills myself.
The Green Rush is a good documentary to watch, whether celebrating 4/20 or not. It is sympathetic to the growers and, although I was initially cynical, I found myself drawn in. I felt sorry for Blue as he discussed the betrayal and his loss. The amount of work and money these farmers put into their crop knowing that at any moment they could be robbed without compensation or caught by the DEA is unbelievable. This documentary is available for free on Hulu – watch it on the link provided below.
What are your thoughts about spreading knowledge about the growing community in California? How do you feel about legalizing marijuana? Is this documentary and the issues it presents interesting to you?