By David Jenison
There’s a new reality series coming this fall that might even get B-Real to figure out TiVo. The Discovery Channel’s Weed Wars follows the lives of Beltway-raised Steve and Andrew DeAngelo as they run the Bay Area-based Harborside Health Center, the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary. The brothers’ parents participated in the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Corps, and Papa DeAngelo worked for the Kennedy administration. This activist spirit lives on in their sons, who run the Oakland-based dispensary and fight for cannabis-related legal reforms. Needless to say, Weed Wars is catching a nice little buzz.
“My family, we were taught to stand up for what we believe and what we think is right,” said Steve, the center’s executive director, during a recent L.A. press stop. “I grew up in Washington D.C. One of my very first memories is of my parents making sandwiches and all three of us going down to Martin Luther King’s march on Washington in 1963 and handing those sandwiches out to the marchers there.”
Weed Wars is coming at a pivotal time in the medical marijuana debate. The Obama administration continues to send mixed messages even as states continue to legalize its use. Considering the show’s national profile, there’s even a risk the feds will target Harborside with raids just to prove a point. California’s Compassionate Use Act, states rights and democracy itself are about to come under fire on national TV.
The series also provides an opportunity to show what dispensaries are doing for the infirmed. The show can also shine light on just how much medical marijuana helps HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis patients. Likewise, the DeAngelos’ activism will keep viewers informed of legislative and judicial battles that affect the cause.
Weed Wars might not feature a Kardashian (at least not until the L.A. spin-off), but the series will show Americans what really happens at medical marijuana dispensaries. The anti-cannabis misinformation fight now faces the light of reality, which makes Weed Wars the show the anti-marijuana lobby fears most.