As the federal attack on the medical cannabis industry in California continues at an accelerated pace, television audiences with be able to watch part of the drama unfold on the Discovery Channel’s new weekly series, “Weed Wars.” This is the first reality program to give viewers an up-close-and-personal look at the controversial medicinal cannabis industry. It premieres in its 10 pm Thursday night spot on December 1, 2011.
“Weed Wars” focuses on Oakland’s Harborside Health Center—the nation’s largest medicinal cannabis dispensary, serving over 94,000 patients—and the leadership behind Harborside—activist, founder and Executive Director Steve DeAngelo. DeAngelo’s lifelong mission has been to bring the truth about the cannabis plant to the American public.
DeAngelo launched Harborside five years ago with the goal of establishing industry best practices for medical cannabis distribution. The Oakland medical cannabis club’s model has subsequently become the gold standard for medical cannabis dispensaries in the country.
DeAngelo is going out on a limb to educate the public. As the show was preparing for its debut, multiple federal agencies took increased action in an attempt to shut down the regulated cannabis industry in California.
“I always knew doing the show was risky, and the federal crackdown makes it ever riskier,” said DeAngelo. “I agreed to take the risk because I believe the American people will support us once they see how we handle the medicine and care for our patients.”
The series takes viewers on an up-close-and-personal exploration of the hot-button issue of medical cannabis, following the DeAngelo family (brother Andrew DeAngelo, fiancé Yoli Felix and others) and Harborside’s staff as they fearlessly wrestle with the complex issues they face every day. The series accurately captures the real life drama and high stakes of the business as federal agencies make increasingly harsher threats and IRS audits attempt to shut down the Oakland cannabis club.
At first blush, “Weed Wars” is a familiar story: a start-up business with demanding clients and the ever-looming possibility that it could all go belly up. But this is not your typical business. When California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, medicinal cannabis was legalized within the state. This ignited a national firestorm and opened new doors for a whole new kind of entrepreneur.
In addition to focusing on Steve DeAngelo, his family and the staff, “Weed Wars” follows the journey of the plant itself from seed germination to harvesting. Audiences will meet the growers and “patient farmers” whose job it is to provide the “medicine” that will be eventually purchased and used by thousands of clients, many of whom feel their lives have been forever changed by the plant.
About Harborside Health Center:
Founded by national cannabis leader Steve DeAngelo in 2005, Harborside Health Center is the nation’s largest not-for-profit model medical cannabis dispensary. The Oakland medicinal cannabis collective offers its 94,000 registered patients free holistic health services, lab-tested medicine and education.