Weed Country





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Posted April 11, 2013 by

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Weed Country is the latest documentary series on Discovery Channel. Think Moonshiners, but with cannabis. It takes place in the Emerald Triangle in Northern California and puts a spotlight on growers, dispensary owners, and, of course, the police.

Now, I will tell you right now that I love this show. I think that Discovery does a good job of highlighting the strange dichotomies and contradictions that are present in the American marijuana industry. They swing from these genteel, compassionate, and intelligent growers who are putting their necks on the line to make a living and provide people with medical marijuana, to the jack-booted, military-minded police who clearly have not updated their understanding of marijuana. Neither are they willing to admit the failure of their “war” to actually do anything but create more problems – they just keep trying harder at losing. The things they say are absolutely ludicrous. Please, if you watch this show, check on everything said for actual facts. If a police officer says something like “I have seen this country go from great to good in my lifetime” and insinuate that it is because of this plant, go check that out and see if it is true, or if it is misplaced zeal fed by archaic and outright wrong thinking.

The Growers
I love the growers on this show. They are just good people. They aren’t gang members, or mexican cartels, or dangerous criminal looking to destroy the American way. They are just simple people planting gardens. Plants. Remember that. These are gardens, like in your yard. They aren’t meth labs, they aren’t cocaine processing plants, they are gardens with plants that grow all over this world (and have since long before mankind arrived on the scene) and are simply watered and fed and blossoms. That’s what all this fuss is about! Imagine the police assaulting your yard with automatic weapons and military-style gear to rip out your plants. That is what these people live with everyday. But you can’t help but root for them because they are just good people. You won’t find a “rich drug kingpin” among them. Nate Morris is one of my favorites for sure. The dude is just an admirable person, incredibly intelligent, compassionate, and willing to put his whole life on the line to help a little kid – in my book, nothing is nobler. He makes a great point. He says, “If any other flower was found to have these properties we would celebrate it as the greatest discovery on earth, but because it is this one, the idea of its benefits is a laugh line.” Oh, and B.E. Smith? You couldn’t write a character like that if you wanted to. He says something profound when talking with Nate about the little guy that he is trying to synthesize a CBD-only medicine for – “My granddaughter started having seizures. And when it comes to granddaughters, there is not a man-made fucking law that overrules the grandfather.” And yes, I want a poster of him standing there giving dual old one-finger salutes to the police helicopter hovering above his monstrous front yard garden. Bottom line, the growers come across as the heroes of this story, as they should.

The Police
I respect the police. I believe they are necessary in a society such as ours and I support them in many, many ways. But the police on this show? Almost everything they say about marijuana is not only false, but asinine. Comments like, “it is a problem of epidemic proportions” and “it’s destroying the America I love” come from the backwards minds of these militaristic, ignorant glory hounds. Their understanding of cannabis and what it represents is completely off base. You would have to go back to the 60s to have these types of ill-informed opinions. And Discovery, consciously or not, definitely paints them in that light if you watch. My favorite quote is from Mike Boutin regarding his brother who is a CHP officer. He says, ”He’s a good man. He’s a good cop. He isn’t about ridding the country of weed. He’s about ridding his town of bad men”. The police on this show seem to be doing absolutely nothing but wasting time and the public’s money stalking through the woods in camo pretending they are in Afghanistan hunting insurgents. I literally get angry at the police segments. If they were busting down doors to raid meth labs or people with illegal guns, I would be right there with them. But ripping out plants and then claiming they are “saving lives” is absolutely ludicrous, and that is putting it lightly in my book. I am left wondering how many illegal weapons and domestic violence incidents are going on in these towns while these armed egomaniacs are running around the woods, playing army and pulling up plants. After five episodes I have yet to see them even come face to face with a single person. But they act like they are in some guerrilla warfare situation. Sheriff Winters is a complete ignoramus. At the end of on episode he says, “They say it is a harmless flower, well I have dedicated my life to eradicating this harmless flower”. You don’t even have to say anything about that, he pretty much said it all. People in these counties should be pissed that their money is being flushed down the toilet like this. Ridding private land of unauthorized grows I have no problems with. But acting like the plant is the source of all of societies ills is just so far off base it isn’t even funny – and these are the people with power and the law on their side. Scary.

Dispensary Owners
Not a huge part of the show beyond Matt Shotwell. He is ballsy, I will give him that, and I would love to sit down and buy this guy a beer sometime. Having his whole life stolen from him by the government and then harassed endlessly by the police over dried flowers? Just absolutely shameful. I don’t necessarily condone his methods, but I understand his frustration and have to at least applaud his tenacity. Plus, this show makes you hate the cops so much that you would root for anyone but them at certain points. Watching the aftermath of a raid on a dispensary where they not only took everything, but trashed the place by pulling ceiling tiles down, tossing the place so only a heap of garbage remains seems to me like it should raise a lot of questions about just what is going on here.

The video up top is a great little segment from reason.tv. Mike Boutin, one of the growers portrayed on Weed Country, is interviewed about his views and experience regarding the marijuana culture in the US. Watch this and then I defy you to disprove anything he says. He just lays out the truth and has a great, intelligent and informed grasp on the issues around what is preventing prohibition from being recognized for what it is, a complete failure built upon deliberate misinformation, and a government that is content to keep operating according to, and spreading it. Here is to you Mike Boutin. You are a warrior my friend.
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