Bluegrass, Blackmarket (Film)

Bluegrass, Blackmarket

  •  Hans Luxemburger
  •  1994
  • Color IconColor
  •  27:57
  •  3/4" U-matic
Film Description
Marijuana grows well in the Appalachian mountains — so well that in many parts of the region it has replaced tobacco as the number one cash crop. Bluegrass, Blackmarket investigates the underground economy that has developed around marijuana cultivation in an economically depressed area of Eastern Kentucky and the official corruption that has accompanied it through the voices of participants on all sides of the issue. A marijuana grower demonstrates his techniques for growing the plant and skirting the law. The area’s prosecuting attorney describes his frustration with trying to convict growers in a community that has come to accept the marijuana trade as a way of life. State police and national guardsmen eradicate plants found in isolated cornfields. A local newspaper editor laments the loss of community pride that comes with dependence on an underground economy. Woven throughout the documentary is the story of a large-scale FBI sting operation that led to the arrest of four local sheriffs on drug trafficking charges, making an excellent case study of the consequences of illegal economic activity and the difficulty of eliminating this country’s “drug problem” in places where people have few viable economic opportunities.

Screenings & Festivals
  • Athens International Film Festival

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“Good portrait of how economic forces influence people to break the law.” — National Educational Film