|CNBC’s Trish Regan travels the country and finds that in many places, marijuana has already shed its back-alley stigma.|
Marijuana USA will take CNBC viewers back inside the flourishing pot industry on Wednesday, December 8 at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. The one-hour documentary, reported by correspondent Trish Regan, looks at the world’s most commonly used illicit drug as it comes out of the shadows and into the mainstream.
As more states pass laws permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the once vilified weed is being met with a newfound acceptance. Some hope — and others fear — that the whole country may soon be going to pot.
CNBC’s Trish Regan travels the country and finds that in many places, marijuana has already shed its back-alley stigma.
Regan reports from Colorado, where a new and thriving marijuana industry is providing much-needed money and jobs in a weak economy. The fast growing business is attracting a new generation of cannabis entrepreneurs — savvy young professionals emerging from the unlikely fields of finance, biotechnology, government and medicine — who are re-branding pot as a natural herbal remedy and selling it openly in dispensaries all over town.
Colorado now has more marijuana dispensaries than it does Starbucks, and authorities regulate, license, and tax it like any other product.
But even as 15 states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana, pot remains in clear violation of federal laws. Federal law enforcement agents and anti-drug officials vow they will not surrender.
CNBC, known for its business news coverage, travels to the front lines of America’s weed wars, from the fierce political campaign to legalize pot in California to the ambitious air and ground campaign to search for marijuana plots deep in the mountainous terrain of eastern Kentucky.
Regan speaks with Lieutenant Brent Roper, the commander of Kentucky’s “marijuana strike force,” who swears that Kentucky will be the last state ever to legalize marijuana.
The documentary also takes viewers to Portugal, the first country in the world to fully decriminalize the possession of all drugs. She speaks with Joao Goulao, Portugal’s drug czar and the chief architect of the country’s decriminalization strategy, about the country’s unique drug policy.
Looking further into the business of marijuana, CNBC takes viewers inside a busy medical clinic near Denver, where marijuana is almost always the doctor’s order. Dr. James Boland, a physician of 25 years, works for a clinic that has brought in more than a million dollars in just its first year of business, attracting patients in search of authorizations for medical marijuana.
CNBC.com has added new stories to its special report, Marijuana & Money, which, through the lens of business, thoroughly examines the state of marijuana in America, including the costs and impact — positive and negative — that legalization might have on the economy, government, and ultimately, the consumer.
New topics addressed include the hydroponics boom, which looks at how the manufacturer, distribution and sale of hydroponics equipment has become a nearly half-billion-dollar business; the explosive growth of marijuana testing labs; and a profile of Mile High Ice Cream, a company that has found a sweet way to capture some of Colorado’s fast-growing medical marijuana market.
CNBC’s Trish Regan is co-anchor of The Call (Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to noon ET). She is also author of the upcoming book, Joint Ventures: Inside America’s Almost Legal Marijuana Industry, due out April 20, 2011 and published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Marijuana USA will re-air on Wednesday, December 8 at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific; Thursday, December 9 at 8 p.m. and midnight ET; and Sunday, December 12 at 10 p.m. ET.