The Marajuana Conspiracy (Craig Pryce, 2020): USA

Reviewed by Abby Farer-Haydon. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2020.

From beginning to end, this movie did a brilliant job of conveying  the closed mindedness and unjust negative labeling that has followed Cannibus for over 70 years. The movie starts  with a young researcher who is approached to head a study that will prove scientifically that Marajuana is a distructive force for society and that it only brings chaos and decline to the world of 1974. The researcher advertises for young  females under the age of 25 to be the test  subjects. The conditions of the study are that the women must accept that they are to  be confined  in a facility where all of their basic needs of food and shelter will be met. They are to have no contact   with the outside world for 98 days while they smoke large amounts of Marajuana They must also accept that they will be observed and tested by medical staff and the researcher during this time of confinement .An interesting cross section of women  end up being chosen for the study. One is a homeless woman, one is the daughter of a wealthy family that is a Hippie goddess with wanderlust.

This could have ended up as a very boring movie except for the presentation of many of the social social issues of the 1970’s that are portrayed magnificently. The inequality of women is one of the major themes that is woven into this film. Before the study even starts a very attractive woman is fired from her job because the man in charge thought that she  would just quit anyway to get married and have children. The impression that I recieved from the older men in the film was a fear of the newly emerging Woman’s Liberation movement. I felt that these men were trying to hold on to their crumbling positions of power and control over women.  You could actually sense the fear in these men when they talked about and to women. The nurse, who the girls called Nurse Ratchett, commented to her boss that she could not get a loan for a house because no man was involved. She would have to get a male co-signer to get her loan.

As the movie progresses, the  nurse is discoved, by her supervisor and friend, to be a lesbian. Her supervisor tried several times during the film to get the nurse to drop her “wicked ways” and become hetrosexual. I am glad that the nurse refused and held fast to her lifestyle.

There were a lot of comic moments in the film. One transpired in the Hippie goddess’s affluent home before the trials started. Her mother ate some brownies that made her all giddy. I guess I found this quite delightful as my mother did the same thing.

The sets, costumes and  vehicles  were  historically accurate and made me feel as if I was having a flashback. Every detail of the era was presented beautifully.

I hope this movie gets to theaters for it will be a positive addition to movie offerings.

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