Originally made in 1936 and financed by a small church group as a cautionary tale entitled Tell Your Children, this film was acquired by notorious exploitation producer and director Dwain Esper who added numerous salacious insert shots and changed the title to something a little racier in Reefer Madness. Esper's other claim to fame came with his method of distribution: he would breeze into town, hire a tent or a cinema for a couple of days and charge people to watch his film before moving on swiftly before the authorities could catch him. None of his films had a rating, which meant the content could be anything that Esper wanted it to be - his films caught the imagination of the paying public becuase they were supposed to be 'educational documentaries'.
Reefer Madness acquired cult status in the 1970s among American college students, who ignored the supposed implications of smoking marijuana and turned the film into a comedy, laughing at all the wrong bits and marvelling at the wonderfully awful acting. It has retained that cult status ever since.