Mar 022013
 March 2, 2013

weed country discovery channelThe first episode of ‘Weed Country’ on the Discovery Channel was mostly a disappointment. There were basically four characters – a grower and his wife who go on ‘drug runs’ as the show puts it, the Jackson County Sheriff from Oregon (the WORST representation of anything that ‘happens’ in Oregon), one compassionate medical marijuana patient/grower who tries to actually help people (which is why I said ‘mostly a disappointment earlier because he was cool), and a disgraced medical marijuana dispensary owner from Vallejo named Matt Shotwell.

I don’t know Matt Shotwell, and I tried as hard as I could to withhold judgement against him, but by the end of the show I was pretty upset with the way he went about things. ‘Weed Country’ clips and narrations explained that he was the first medical marijuana dispensary owner in Vallejo, California, and that at the pinnacle of his operation he was the most popular medical marijuana dispensary in the area. I got the impression that he had been operating for quite sometime, and he talked quite a bit about how much money he was making during that time.

What I never, ever heard Matt Shotwell discuss was the fact that he was providing safe access to medicine that suffering patients desperately needed. Instead Matt Shotwell went on and on about how much money he was losing by not having stuff on his shelves, and how there was a vacuum created in Vallejo after the crackdowns that created a potentially very profitable situation. I see this too often with dispensary owners, who are extremely greedy, only care about lining their pockets, and forget about the patients. That’s not to say that all dispensary owners are that way, because I know many compassionate ones, but Matt Shotwell showed a level of greed that is inexcusable. Operating a medical marijuana dispensary should involve compassion, not just dollars.

Maybe if Matt Shotwell had given back to the movement that created the opportunity for him in the first place, he wouldn’t have felt so much despair as it seemed no one was there to protest, no one was there to help pick up the pieces, no one was there to write LTE’s to local media, etc. At one point in the first episode, Matt Shotwell needed a ‘marijuana expert’ to testify for him in court. Had he been active with Americans for Safe Access, NORML, Marijuana Policy Project, etc, he would have realized that getting an expert would have been easy. However, there he was, performing search engine queries on the internet with his girlfriend looking for a ‘marijuana expert.’ The oldest owner of a safe access point in a major city in California should never, ever get to that point unless they had fully forgotten to give back to the movement that created the opportunity for the dispensary owner in the first place.

I hate prohibition, and I hate the federal government’s crackdown on safe access in California. Untold numbers of patients were affected by their actions. However, medical marijuana dispensary owners that don’t give back to the movement, and are only in it for the dollars, don’t do anything to help the cause and indirectly help keep prohibition in place, and ensure further crackdowns by the feds. Let it be a lesson to all other medical marijuana dispensary/collective/club owners across the nation! I didn’t watch the second episode because I didn’t see the point, but below are a couple of clips in case others want to see what I’m talking about.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • for the paitents not the dolla

    He is a douche bag greedy person that deserves the 8 years sell ur Porsche then if u don’t have money seems like the rat in the whole show!

  • Dennis Cordova

    That basturd Shotwell shoudve never made it off the moutain. Crying shame grace farms had to harvest early . But somethings better than nothing. Mike by thankful you wont have to deal wifh M.S anymore. That a godsend . Nate my hats off to you and all your crew . Ive seen the benifits of cannabis to really ill people . People dying from aids and the relief they got from mmj. Makes all the work so worth it . Peace D.C

  • http://twitter.com/thekidsocollege Kyle Lamb

    I understand your perception of Matt in the beginning. But I feel he still realizes he is doing this for a reason, much the same reason as Nate. I think that he is just pissed off because he has nothing. NOTHING!!! No one is supporting him (girlfriend in particular). He is trying to prove that he can get back in the business. and I think that the reason he did not search for a “friend” or someone he has worked with before was because of his legal issues. I do not think that the large projects you listed would be willing to get involved with someone with legal issues. Considering he lost his business and I am guessing his medicinal license. It would look like they are helping drug dealers, not patients or dispensaries. B.E. did not seem too fond of the idea either. He took his lawyer to the first meeting so nothing wrong would be said. At least he did have the heart to try and help him. But i still completely understand your perception. I just looked at it differently.

    And by the way. Relating to your last paragraph. i created a petition on petitions.whitehouse.gov please sign up and sign it. I also have a feeling you may like the article I listed in it from the NIH. The way that they described cannabis as “bad” was humorous to me. It was all no different than alcohol and tobacco. Here is the link to the petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/give-us-legitimate-reason-keep-marijuana-illegal-medical-and-recreational-purposes/F98vzyJZ

    As you are a blogger and activist I know it may seem small considering what you do. I understand you have a busy schedule and all but please help. Blog the petition link every now and then. I feel like if we keep pressuring the feds they will eventually crack. Of course it will all happen soon anyway but lets try and speed up the process.

  • http://www.facebook.com/crazeeconnie Connie Guy

    I was disappointed.. I thought it would be more legit doc style… ended up to much like hick reality show ..except for a few parts…smh

  • jack schrader

    Seems to me that writer is more concerned about personal support but let’s talk about matt,writer forgets that the gov decided he should be in the fight of his life which fortunately was dropped! The canadian gov produces alcohol,both beer and whiskey, they regulate it and control the distribution, if our gov did the same and prepackaged mary jane in cig form and lose packed containers such as tobacco and put it in drug stores with the price low they would eliminate the black market entirely