‘American Weed’ TV Series Premieres Wednesdays


Steve Schrenzel/NGT
The Stanley brothers inspect young crops at their medical marijuana growhouse.

​A new TV series called “American Weed” is premiering on the National Geographic Channel tonight (Wednesday, February 22) at 10 p.m. ET/PT. According to NatGeo, the show “goes inside Colorado’s pot culture and explores the legal world of medical cannabis from various perspectives, including the growers, patients and dispensary owners, cops, caregivers and opponents.”

The all-new series “finds Colorado medical marijuana businesses under scrutiny and facing mounting pressures from local residents,” according to National Geographic.

Drew Olberholtzer/NGT
Dawn Clifford, co-owner of Emerald Pathway Wellness Center, tends to a cannabis plant at her grow. Emerald Pathway faces the threat of closure if an upcoming ballot initiative succeeds in imposing a ban on dispensaries in Fort Collins.

​Fort Collins dispensary owner Dawn Clifford and her husband, John, are facing the possibility of their business being shut down due to a proposed marijuana dispensary ban. If that happens, all owners are on the chopping block, and hundreds of patients will be left in the cold.
Medical cannabis entrepreneur and Fort Collins dispensary owner Josh Stanley works aggressively to counter anti-cannabis pressure with radio ads and fundraising events. As the oldest of 11 siblings, Josh relies on several of his brothers to help keep his business supplied in medical marijuana, according to the National Geographic Channel.
The Stanley brothers are growing their medicinal cannabis to sell at their dispensaries throughout the state, according to NatGeo. But they face a big problem: Their crop, worth $250,000, must be moved before the plants outgrow their space and the crop is lost.

Drew Olberholtzer/NGT
A firm believer that dispensaries are destroying his town, Scoot Crandall stands on a Fort Collins street corner with a billboard that reads, “Don’t let our town go to pot. Vote for 300.”

​Meanwhile, anti-pot wing nut Scoot Randall is looking for votes to stop Fort Collins from being what he claims is the “pot capital of Northern Colorado.”
And Sgt. Jim Gerhardt and his fellow officers on the North Metro Task Force “continue to find illegal grows by residents claiming to be growing medical marijuana.” Sgt. Gerhardt, NatGeo tells us, “discovers marijuana is growing in a suburban neighborhood within reach of children — who have picked leaves and taken them to school.” (Remember, this is supposed to be horrifying, and quite likely is… to misinformed Middle America.)
“Is the pendulum swinging back to curb the 10-year proliferation of medical marijuana in Colorado?” National Geographic asks.

Drew Olberholtzer/NGT
Marijuana grows inside the Stanley brothers’ mountain grow. Dispensary owners are required to grow the majority of the medical marijuana that they sell in their shops..

​The tone of that question is slightly troubling, which leads us to a major concern.
That key question is: Can we count on National Geographic for impartial coverage?
Sadly, at least once before, the answer has been no. NatGeo’s “High On Marijuana” special took a decidedly anti-cannabis turn, in fact crossing the line into absurdity when it described the onset of marijuana’s effects as like “terrorists taking over the brain.”
One interviewee featured in that “documentary” told Toke of the Town he was “manipulated and given false assurances” that the show — widely criticized in the cannabis community for its alarmist portrayal of the herb — would be an impartial look at weed.
As we pointed out before that special even aired, the fact that the show featured testimony from those who have, to quote NatGeo, “been addicted” to marijuana was something of a red flag to those of us who were expecting an impartial viewpoint. Still, it came as a disappointment when that show turned out to be a breathless piece of anti-pot hogwash, as we had predicted.
Will National Geographic get it right this time?
Tune in tonight and each Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET/PT, and we’ll find out, together.