American Weed: Marijuana Drama

By Megan Slattery- Field Associate Producer

It’s 7AM and our crew is standing outside the doors of a massive warehouse in Denver. Bleary eyed but eager to get started, we wait to be let in through a series of three locked security doors. Kevon greets us but doesn’t seem to be tired at all. In fact, he’s almost giddy with excitement for the day to begin. Kevon has a good reason to be excited. The dispensary he co-owns and operates is having its first harvest in the sparkling new medical marijuana grow operation.

Walking into the main section of the warehouse, we stumble upon a very diverse group of people sitting in a circle on top of a huge blue tarp. Everyone is quietly sipping their coffee and gearing up for a big day of manual labor. Their job? Trimming the marijuana harvest. Some of the trimmers choose not to be shown on camera. One trimmer tells me that his mom still does not know what he does for a living and he doesn’t want her to find out on national television. “Fair enough,” I think, “my mother would be a bit shocked too.”

Just as we’ve got tape rolling, Kevon and his partners roll out a five-by-five planter full of marijuana plants. Before we even have time to ask questions, the chopping begins. Before our eyes, piles of pot plants litter the floor and the trimmers are eagerly grabbing them to start the trimming process.

We quickly learn trimming is no easy task-but actually considered an art. Painstaking and time consuming, the trimming process is detailed and extremely crucial to the ultimate sale of the plants. Each trimmer has a particular method and style. But ultimately they need to trim off all the excess leaves and leave the bud perfectly exposed. For this harvest, though, they need to follow instructions from the dispensary owners to make sure all the pot is uniformly trimmed.

Meanwhile, Kevon and his partners are ecstatic. The harvest is something they all take great pride in. It’s a culmination of their hard work and strong belief in the medical marijuana industry. They all gather in the ‘drying room’ as the trimmed plants begin to line the ceiling. They admire the fruits of their labor then quickly get back to assisting the trimmers and keeping things on track.

The planters roll out and the trimmers work hard to keep up. There are a total of 17 planters full of marijuana, and around mid-afternoon there’s concern all the trimming won’t be finished in one day. For the film crew, the giant piles of marijuana are visual gold. We spend hours filming the plants, the trimming circle, and the people that take such pride in their work. The crew has seen this pride and determination in other people in the industry. But it’s different seeing the physical embodiment of all that hard work laying on an enormous blue tarp in the warehouse. The importance of this day has actual weight and smell-much like a farmer’s crops at the end of a long harvest season.

By 7PM everyone is exhausted. The trimmers can barely feel their fingers, the owners are still slowly rolling in the plants, and the crew has enough pot footage to last a lifetime. We pack up to go home, but the trimming crew carries on.

American Weed premieres Wednesday, February 22 at 10 PM ET/PT.

Comments

  1. DavyD
    USA
    February 23, 2012, 3:39 am

    These brothers are CHUMPS, They NEED ME to set them straight (no pun intended), they give weed a bad name!!!
    BOOO!!! natgeo, you suck!!!

  2. MBA
    February 23, 2012, 4:09 am

    I could not help but post a comment after hearing an uneducated opinion on how marijuana inhibits learning. I have a MBA and smoked the whole time. I got all A’s! Furthermore, one of my good friends is about to earn his PHD in…. Oh ya, education. Open your mind and eyes. Pharmaceutical companies are legally selling drugs that have been identified as the number one source of drug problems with our youth. Legalize and educate. You want to fight something try harmful synthetics!!!

  3. dlynn
    NC
    February 23, 2012, 4:53 am

    I am for medical marrijuana. I beleave if it where avalable in NC about 9 years ago my Father would still be alive. He died from pacreatic cancer. I hope I spell this right Icell carsonoma. He was in great pain everyday and could not eat everyone esle. He had to pick about every hour to keep something on his stonach. He had thecancer for almost thirty years. They found it in 1979 and he passed in 2005. He could not hold anyhting down if he had more than half to one cup of food at a time. We tried to get him to try it but he was set in his ways and was tired of being sick. So he just gave up. If you went through 4 rounds of chemo and 3 diffrent rounds of radition you would be sick too. It was strong for the cancer he had. We did not think he would make it as long as he did nor did the Drs. People that are againts medical marijuana nees to walk in his shoes or anyone else that is in pian. Lets put them one and operaiting table and clamp off the L4 and L5 in their spine and see how they like that pian. These poeple have never been in that kind of pain. Ask how many kids in Denver are Alcoholics or are hooked on pain pills. But we do not run out the pharmacies or liquar stores.
    Marijuana is not I repeat IS NOT THE GATEWAY DRUG. Alcohol is. Ask most kids what is the first thing they tried and more the 60% will say alcohol. I say Ask Denver how much in taxes that they would be losing. Is it a hundred dollars, is it five hundred dollars. No it maybe more like a million or more. If not mistaken a study was done in the 80’s to see if marijuana was made leagel in the USA we would have been out of debt with inside of ten years. If regulated it would put people back to work. People would not be over population or prisions for less than 1/4th oz of it. We put more people in prision longer for that than if they murdered someone. This could be longer but I think I need to come off my soap box.
    I say keep up the fight Kevon. Hope everything goes your way.

  4. JR
    Wisconsin
    February 23, 2012, 7:10 am

    I have this in 2 parts, first Marijuana in general and then medical marijuana.
    I have to laugh when I see a LEO comparing a marijuana plant to Oxycodone as if there is a comparison to the danger of leaving oxycodone out for kids to find and to having kids find a marijuana plant. Of course I don’t want kids getting pot, but you cannot die from pot, even if they did use it, as they easily could if they took oxycondone. This is the typical attempt from LE to make marijuana seem like a really dangerous drug. And then they have the 300 proponents trying to tell people that you can get addicted to pot, which you cannot. You can get mentally attached to it but not physically addicted.
    I worked as a Sheriff’s Investigator for 22 years and I honestly believe that marijuana ought to be given a status of hard liquor with very stiff penalties in the form of fines and jail for those who get it into the hands of kids.. The cost of the war on pot far out weighs the benefits of that war because we CAN’T win it. What we need to do is EDUCATE the kids about what it is and teach them that it’s something that they should leave alone until they are adults and can make an informed decision.
    But the war on marijuana is not winnable. You can never win a war against a weed that can be grown anywhere. The proof is in the statistics. Marijuana has done nothing but increase as we expend more and more money against it. Education is the best path to take and then regulate it strictly and tax it heavily.
    —————————————
    Medical marijuana should be treated by the rules created for it. If you find violators then arrest them or cite them. If the penalties are stiff people will learn the rules.
    I agree that 20 Med. Mari. stores is too many for one community but their response should be not to ban it but to control it. They should decide how many stores is a reasonable number for the region and then zone it that way. Zone the town for 1 shop every so many square blocks of miles.
    Additionally the 300 proponents are confusing the issue. They seem to be arguing to get rid of ALL marijuana and that is never going to happen.
    If they THINK too many cards are given out or that marijuana is being given out by card holders then they should PROVE that with facts. Instead they are trying to push questionable medical facts about the effects of marijuana. What has that to do with marijuana getting loose? I really think they are mixing issues. They need to define what they are REALLY after and then approach it without all the redirect.

  5. Robert
    NY
    February 23, 2012, 2:56 pm

    GREAT SHOW!

  6. redbone18
    Tampa,Fl
    February 23, 2012, 4:27 pm

    I believe marijuana as a whole is beneficial in keeping society peaceful . Marijuana smokers are lawyers , judges , pro athletes and business professionals . These are not the kind of people who are out committing crimes to support their habits . People are so old fashioned these days I find it hard to believe . Scoot is just another idiot who needs to mind his own business . Let people make their own decisions and don’t let self serving idiots decide what we as Americans can and can’t do . Remember – prohibition did not work !!!

  7. human factor
    Earth
    February 25, 2012, 6:14 am

    I really enjoyed the show. I think people will see that growing, working, patient care, law enforcement, pressure of voting and growing quality buds in a medicinal business that’s just learning it’s way under constant attack and change is amazing.Just human beings doing their best in a tough situation.
    The Clifford’ and Stanley’s are going where none have gone before. People will soon see that the care for patients, the growth of Marijuana as a positive are what matters to them Too bad it maybe will be destroyed for a few richy- rich, church based, off year election planned attack that has no care for the law , patient or just the American way of life.
    Ft. Collins was on then cutting edge of progressive care and acceptance that had National focus. It got blown out of the water by self desires, phony stats and accusations,etc.
    Both dispensaries put their butts on the line , laid it out for Nat Geo and the World . All this while losing it ALL and Patients. That hurts the most. Like losing family.
    Maybe we can see pass the little individual flaws and embrace them for who they are and what they have done….

    Clifford’s and the Stanley’s are fighting for ALL of us who view MJ as a Medicine and/or a positive in life…Like an Emerald Pathway…Hope to find you on it. Remember Medicate safely next Wed..

  8. joe nobody
    55555
    February 25, 2012, 8:07 am

    Re: police arresting guy with fenced-in outdoor grow segment:
    If your kids are coming into MY yard and stealing MY pot, maybe you should teach your kids not to steal. Maybe if the police did their jobs objectively and treated ALL my property equally, without preconceptions, this wouldn’t be a problem; your kids aren’t stealing my car stereo or my lawnmower and selling it on campus, are they? And if so, shouldn’t THEY be punished?

  9. Lonesome K
    Va Bch, Va
    February 29, 2012, 12:39 am

    I love Natgeo…but I have never heard such lame BS in my life. Calling weed medicine, these brothers are fricken idiots.
    The old burnt out hippie dirt biker getting medicated before riding. Do these fools think the American people are idiots.
    ITS DOPE, AND THESE “PATIENTS” ARE GETTING STONED…GIVE ME A BREAK.THIS IS TYPICAL LIBERAL BS…LIES…WHY NOT SPEAK THE TRUTH…LYING LIBS ARE INCAPABLE OF THE TRUTH.

  10. T.R.
    February 29, 2012, 8:17 pm

    I respect those who choose a more “conservative” lifestyle, but no one is forcing anyone to use marijuana. Alcohol is available to everyone over 21, but it’s not forced down peoples throats (and I’m not even going to get into the death toll differences). Everyone wants freedom, but only to do what THEY want, if another persons ideas differ, then they’re wrong. This is not freedom, this is ignorance.

    I’m not going to say marijuana has no negative side effects, or that average kids should be using it, but there are numerous [common] cases where the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Marijuana’s greatest problem is its public image thanks to Harry Anslinger, among others. We’re talking about a chemical compound that is most commonly found in marijuana, that has been shown to have medicinal benefits without serious negative side-effects. Granted, smoking ANYTHING isn’t in the best interest of the health of your lungs, but that’s not the only way to use marijuana. Unfortunately, the thick-heads don’t want to hear it; it’s all hippies and drum circles to them.

    People have the right to be massively ignorant if they want (I say “massively” because every person is inherently ignorant), but don’t force it onto other peoples lives.

  11. howie
    ny
    February 29, 2012, 11:02 pm

    my comment relates to the dirt bike rider who smoked weed before he rides. i know from my own pain that nothing i could take would allow me to ride a dirt bike. it’s like the rider contadicted himself, “bad physical pain” but……he can ride a dirt bike?? hmmmmmm lame.

  12. ECV opie taylor
    Raymond WA
    February 29, 2012, 11:31 pm

    First off the guy ex -mayor dont know wht he is talking about
    you cant just walk into a doctors office and get a green card!
    you have to get a blessing from your primary DR then make a app with a green card doctor,”’ you have to have your medical records”, And if you are any kind of other pain meds
    in some cases your primary DR will give you a choice, pain meds or pot not bolth, and the green card doctor , will review your records and if he thinks you need it he will contact you and you go in for a interveiw!then and only then will he give you a card, so the bs he was spewing about a DR just taking your word for it , is horse#* , and the look on the doctors face when he gives the card to you is awsome he must know he is improving the quality of life for tht patient. . and the Brothers are seeing it to , so the next time tht EX-mayor wants to throw around false numbers about patients tht fake injurys to get a card, should go see a cancer patient thts lived a few more yrs cause the had this gift from god! way to go natgeo………..

  13. Anthony bolen
    Ohio, centerville
    February 29, 2012, 11:31 pm

    I’m a former cancer patient and I’m very proud that you guys take a stand because without marijuana I woulda never made it to threw chemo I had to take. so on be half of every cancer patient thank you

  14. Laura
    March 1, 2012, 12:48 am

    Wow!!! After my 10 year old called me into the livingroom to come see what she was seeing on Tv… I watched for 5 minutes and was seriously disgusted this was on NatGeo.. I have decided to block NatGeo so my children and I wont fall subject to this garbage ever again! Very Dissappointed in Natgeo for glorifying an illegal substance on a channel my family visits!

  15. debra swett
    clarkston wa.
    March 1, 2012, 1:46 am

    great show please do a series in Washington state , we have a great story here also , and Nat Geo would be perfect to tell it .

  16. Mr H
    USA
    March 1, 2012, 6:58 pm

    The ignorance of people like Laura, is disgusting. You should not watch educational programs, just close your eyes and turn it to the 700 club and give them your money. Compassionate Americans helping pain ridden Americans is nothing but positive. I guess Laura thinks Americans should get illegal Cannabis and fund the drug cartels. Time to grow up kids, Live and let live.

  17. Patti Kraus
    Wisconsin
    March 2, 2012, 2:47 am

    We here have yet been given the choice, however being a person that has the unforton of being in severe chronic pain for the last 12 years would love to have at least a chance to get off such harsh pain mess such as oxygen or morphine. Which is our chronic pain patients. ONLY alternative. To the X mayor I’d like to see him in my shoes for 1

  18. Spike Nails
    From parts unkown
    March 2, 2012, 4:48 pm

    I’m pro cannabis. But these people need to clean up and show more profesionalism. Just a thought but how about taking a bath cutting the hair and beards and not coming to work in the clothes you slept in the night before. Stop looking like you live under a bridge and have been at a dead head show for the past 5 years. You guys truly fit the stereo type dirty hippies. CLEAN UP.

  19. Heather
    March 2, 2012, 10:46 pm

    I live in Florida and I must say there a far worst drugs here and there a really big problem every one is hooked on roxies they do so much worse things to your body than pot, Florida writes more prescriptions for opeits than all of the other states combined …. I think it should be legal every where plus tax it people will still pay then your city/state will make money!!!!!

  20. Devin
    Virginia
    March 3, 2012, 10:06 am

    I applaud NatGeo’s new show and the way it honestly shows the medical marijuana professionals. They are heroes going up against a Goliath (the GD Feds…) and the ignorant fools (like Scoot and the ex-mayor). The Stanley bros seem like real decent caring people to me and I wish them all the best of luck!

  21. arnie
    alberta canada
    March 5, 2012, 2:44 pm

    it is hard for me to belive that it is ok for a doctor to put people on pain killers like oxycodone and oxycocet but not marijuana. oxy and percocet will get you hooked but marijuana will not, i know about oxy and perks as i am using them now for pain and am hooked. i need to get on marijuana but no help from the goverment

  22. K. Richardson
    Colorado Springs, CO
    March 5, 2012, 3:36 pm

    Shame on NATGEO what a boring, stupid show. The reason I watch natgeo is because I hate reality shows! I will not be tuning into such a pro-pot tv show. The Stanley bros are wannabe clowns and the cops are a waste of time

  23. Gryphen Volt
    Current Auburn CA patient
    March 8, 2012, 4:58 am

    I have been a patient in three stated CA,AZ, and HI. In all states i have seen psychiatrists and medical professionals concerning my choice of medication. Before i was offered a prescription for Medical Marijuana i was given Marinol, the so called THC supplement. In reality its an Analog of the THC molecule, known as THV, that shows signs of causing liver damage in long term use. But, notice how there not announcing that from a bullhorn.
    Hey Arnie, any physician in a state covered by a Marijuana proposition, that has a license to prescribe narcotics can choose to prescribe Marijuana instead of Pharmaceuticals. They’re just not paid to or given cash incentives like the ones from Phiser.

  24. Monique
    Washington DC
    March 21, 2012, 9:23 pm

    I suggest that the dispensaries work to support and/or develop a partnership to help support the crack down on people who sell marijuana illegally in Colorado. Everyone wins.

  25. john
    Arkansas
    March 22, 2012, 3:12 am

    If there no was no medical i would dead right now
    in name god stop playing with us sick people
    we the marijuana it help me eat be for marijuana 114LB
    and i am 5-10 now i am 121lb . It is gov, needs to
    playing is one to make it right the people just not
    going to got it needs to in the news not just on national geographic that but it needs to be Bigger like tv so the
    word can see it not killing us it helping us.
    Thanks for marijuana and
    marionl it sales for just for 30 tabs is
    $872.65 for that price you get a lot of marijuana see it it gov, why it is what it is it will never
    Free thing for us to we are free you have tax don’t pay
    it see how free you here in the UAS.IT SICK! NO WIN.

  26. John
    Denver
    March 29, 2012, 12:48 pm

    After seeing over 30 cites, towns and counties ban dispensaries at a rate of around 85% there is no excuse why the Stanley’s and other dispensaries around Fort Collins didn’t put some serious money and a lot more effort into fighting 300. They dropped the ball and I put half of the blame on them. Surely the Stanley’s were getting a little bit of money for their little reality show. Would have been a good investment.
    PS: To all, I can guarantee you that there are very, very few dispensaries making any money. It is a lot of work which is genarally undercompensated financially. People who assume these guys are millionaires are probably making less than most skilled labor. So back off the “they only care about money” arguement. I am a cancer patient. I started to consume hash oils high in CBD content and very little THC 2 years ago. I had one recurrence 1 1/2 years ago. I went through chemo and kept ingesting the hash oils. I have been in remission since then. Was it the chemo? Was it the hash oils. Coincidence? I don’t know. But I’m not stopping with the hash oil. Oh, and I don’t get “high” from it.

  27. chris
    canada
    June 26, 2012, 10:29 pm

    All political standpoints aside: this is the biggest piece of TV garbage I have ever witnessed in my life. Nat Geo better pull itself out of the depths of trash reality television quick!

  28. Dave
    California
    August 31, 2012, 5:35 pm

    Hey NatGeo, I enjoyed this show very much! When is Season 2 coming?