Not to be outdone by the Discovery Channel, National Geographic premiered their own weed-centric reality show this week. American Weed will be a 10-part series focusing on the medical marijuana debate here in Colorado. The series was filmed across the Front Range, where many places have banned dispensaries, and will touch on the controversy surrounding the business of and legal fight for pot.
The first episode, which aired Wednesday, featured Joel Stanley and his five brothers, who grow marijuana for their three dispensaries in Colorado Springs and one in Denver. Josh Stanley also owned Budding Health in Fort Collins, which was forced to close due to the town’s recent ban.
“We’ve put our life savings into this,” Josh says in the first episode, “and for three years, every waking minute has been nothing but work.” The show demonstrates the brothers’ hard work as well as their playful nature with each other–but they make clear just how important this business is. “If you’re a cancer patient, you’re not gonna walk into a pharmacy and [hear them] say ‘Oh, I’m sorry, we’re out of your cancer medicine,'” Josh says as the brothers discuss needing more Bubba Kush, a high-CBD strain.
While the dispensary owners are in their shops and their grow-ops, a resistance is also growing. Scoot Crandall, an anti-marijuana activist and executive director of TEAM Fort Collins, protests with signs bearing the slogan, “Don’t Let Our Town Go to Pot.” He calls his town the “pot capitol of Northern Colorado” and worries about the effects of dispensaries on children. He’s not alone: Last year, voters in Fort Collins supported Question 300, which banned dispensaries in the town, by more than 2,300 votes.
American Weed showcases all sides of the medical marijuana debate by including interviews with patients, growers, and opponents, and should prove to be an enlightening series. Catch the new show Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel.