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New TV Series to Showcase Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Debate

The Stanley brothers inspect young crops at their medical marijuana growhouse.
Photograph by Drew Olberholtzer / NGT
The Stanley brothers inspect young crops at their medical marijuana growhouse.

A new series on the National Geographic Channel will chronicle the growing debate around medical marijuana in Colorado. Called “American Weed,” the episodes were filmed across the Front Range and feature dispensary owners, patients and growers.

Joel Stanley and his five brothers are one of several story lines in the 10-part series. The second episode, called “Weed Jacked!” features a robbery in one of their shops. Joel Stanley says that event speaks to some of the specific challenges dispensary owners face when running their businesses.

“There were a couple of instances. Something happened with a disgruntled employee, and another one was someone off the street trying to get medicine and money," he said. "We’ll see those play out throughout the season.”

Another story line chronicles a citizen-led effort in Fort Collins to ban dispensaries, which voters approved last November. The ban went into effect earlier this month. Former Fort Collins Mayor Ray Martinez and Scoot Crandall, executive director with the substance-abuse prevention effort TEAM Fort Collins, are expected to appear.

Ultimately, Stanley says he hopes the series will present a unbiased point of view on the medical marijuana debate.

“That’s all we can hope for and ultimately people need to make their own decisions about this,” he said. “We hope to see more education on the national stage.”

In addition to Stanley and his brothers, the first episode on Wednesday night, called “Marijuana Drama,” features Fort Collins dispensary owners Dawn and John Clifford, TEAM Fort Collins’ Crandall, and Sergeant Jim Gerhardt with the Fort Collins police.

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