Into the Weeds

“Into the Weeds: Dewayne “Lee” Johnson vs. Monsanto Company” chronicles the legal battle waged by former groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson against Monsanto, the multinational agrochemical corporation now under the ownership of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer since 2018.

At the center of the film is Johnson’s landmark case, the inaugural trial in a series of legal actions involving numerous plaintiffs who allege that Monsanto’s weed killer, particularly Roundup and its glyphosate-based herbicide Ranger Pro, is responsible for their cancer. In contrast, Bayer asserts the safety of these products.

The documentary provides a gripping account of the groundbreaking trial, shedding light on key developments such as the revelation of the Monsanto Papers. These internal documents expose Monsanto’s decades-long manipulation of studies concerning glyphosate’s potential links to cancer.

While focusing on Johnson’s plight, the film introduces other plaintiffs who have faced life-altering consequences due to their diagnoses of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It also delves into the broader implications of the world’s most extensively used herbicide, exploring the pervasive use of hundreds of millions of kilograms of glyphosate in agriculture, with residues detected in various food products. Additionally, the film examines glyphosate’s application in parks, golf courses, railways, hydro corridors, cemeteries, and forests. Scientists featured in “Into the Weeds” discuss the systemic effects of such widespread use and its impact on ecosystems and biodiversity.

Ray Owl, a Traditional Ecological Knowledge elder from the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, shares his efforts to halt the aerial spraying of glyphosate in tree-planting operations within traditional territories along the north shore of Lake Huron.

The verdict in Johnson’s case holds significant consequences, potentially setting a precedent for future trials and requiring Bayer to compensate numerous claimants if ruled in Johnson’s favor. As the film unfolds, it underscores the broader implications of the case, raising awareness about the environmental and health impacts associated with the extensive use of glyphosate.

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By acinetv