Reality TV Show Thrusts Medical Pot Business Into Spotlight

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Get ready for prime time, baby. As we Tweeted last week, the medical marijuana industry will get its day in the sun via a new reality show on the Discovery Channel focusing on Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California. And it’s got a great name: “Weed Wars.”

The program will follow Harborside founder and well-known pot activist Steve DeAngelo as he runs a business that still operates on the fringes of society (and by that I mean in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood).

We interviewed Steve in Oakland last month during the Medical Marijuana Conference in San Francisco. He’s perfect for a reality show. We’ve met a lot of people in this industry over the past few months, and he is one of the most friendly and knowledgeable that we’ve encountered. Plus he wears a cool hat and has two long braids, a la Willie Nelson.We can’t help but think this will give the industry some credibility, unlike the horrible MTV True Life episode that put the entire industry in a really, really bad light.

DeAngelo operates his dispensary exactly as it should be run. After clearing security – which includes passing through a metal detector – you walk into an airy, open lobby with a row of receptionists/cashiers who will answer your questions and ring up your orders. The store is clean and the employees are friendly. It’s respectable and comfortable. And it always seems to be bustling. It’s a legitimate business, and hopefully that will come through in the show.

Granted, it’s always a gamble when you open up your business to producers of a reality show. But I think it’s worth the bet. The industry has an image problem, and perhaps this show will go a long way toward clearing up some misconceptions.

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