INTO THE WEEDS follows groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson and his fight for justice against Monsanto (now Bayer). Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial in a series of lawsuits involving tens of thousands of plaintiffs claiming Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, or its industrial counterpart Ranger Pro, contributed to their cancer. The film follows this groundbreaking trial, while also stepping back to consider the systemic effects of the world’s most widely used herbicide.
As we toggle back and forth between the detail and scale of this ubiquitous product’s impact, it becomes clear that the Johnson verdict will have global repercussions. Our anchor is always Lee: his philosophy, his struggle, and his fight for justice in the face of debilitating and terminal illness. Will Monsanto (Bayer) be forced to change Roundup’s label? To compensate the myriad victims? To address the wide-ranging ecological effects? We consider the limitations of mass torts and using the courts as a tool for social good, and the likelihood of money damages affecting the practice of a company worth billions. By telling Johnson’s story, INTO THE WEEDS ultimately considers whether this kind of David vs. Goliath fight is capable of instigating lasting and substantial change.
""This momentum is coming none too soon. Glyphosate is now found in a wide range of foods. That means you’re eating and drinking it. What effect is that having on your Inner You?""
Through this David vs. Goliath story of a former groundskeeper who takes on a multinational agrochemical corporation after his terminal cancer diagnosis, acclaimed filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal delves into humanity’s relationship with the natural world and its responsibility to protect it.