|Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Randy Johnson (left) visits a marijuana farm run by Matt Cohen (right), as featured in “The Pot Republic,” airing July 26 and 29 on PBS.|
Frontline is presenting “The Pot Republic,” a report on the effort to legalize marijuana in California, this month on PBS.
While the bulk of cannabis used in the United States used to come across the border from Mexico, Colombia, Canada and elsewhere, more than half of it is now believed to be domestically grown, much of it in California, “where an enormous black market has emerged under the cover of the state’s medical marijuana law,” at least if PBS is to be believed.
With more than a third of the U.S. now experimenting with some form of legalization and decriminalization — and several California counties attempting to openly regulate cannabis production — Frontline and the Center for Investigative Reporting teamed up to take a look at the country’s oldest, largest and most wide-open marijuana market.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice fired a shot across the bow to states which have legalized, and are regulating, the growing and distribution of medicinal cannabis.
Marijuana is still illegal for any purpose under federal law, and the DOJ can even prosecute “those who knowingly facilitate such activities,” including state and local officials. (This hasn’t happened anywhere yet, but both U.S. Attorneys for the State of Washington have openly threatened to do exactly that.)
Can the federal government put the ganja genie back in the bottle? And why on earth would they want to? Stay tuned…
Frontline: The Pot Republic airs on PBS affiliates (and will be available online) Tuesday night, July 26 and will repeat Friday night, July 29. Check your local listings for airtimes, which will be 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. in most markets.