There’s no shortage of corny or even marginally engaging YouTube videos regarding the topic of your choice. Dog grooming? There’s gotta be 40,000 videos about it. Cannabis and its culture are no exception. But with so many strain reviews and “let’s toke up, bra!” videos by hoodied teens and hardcore collegiate stoners, where can one turn for a refreshingly intelligent change of pace?
There are some great video series that, together, can go a long way to keeping you current with the political, legal, medicinal, and recreational news about the kind herb—as well as its amazing history of providing medicine, food, and euphoria for humans.
While you might consider yourself a fan of cannabis and immune to the Reefer Madness and D.A.R.E. misinformation that has pervaded American culture for more than 80 years, chances are there’s some firmly held belief or perception of cannabis—or the people who smoke it or the black market that makes it available—that you hold that’s not quite accurate. And possibly even dead wrong.
Lest I pontificate further at the expense of your viewing pleasure, I encourage you to check out the series below. You’ll gain not only hours of stimulating entertainment, but also can break through the stigma, stereotypes, and urban legends of cannabis to become a more informed voter and savvy consumer.
Marijuana Straight Talk
Marijuana Straight Talk is a rare and wonderfully educational effort from NPR veteran and rational stoner Becca Williams. Williams, sometimes accompanied by her dog and MacBook, always exudes a positive sense of humor and easy going, intelligent mellowness best characterized by the herb itself.
Williams is executive producer of Marijuana Straight Talk, a series of relatively short videos (three to five minutes each) aimed at entertaining while also defying decades-old social stereotypes and stigma regarding cannabis and those who use it.
Marijuana Straight Talk recently scored a big success in terms of viewer reach: It is now available in a 30-minute format on Free Speech Television Network, which is distributed via DISH Network, DirecTV, and Roku and available to more than 37 million Americans. The show is one of the most highly rated among Free Speech’s stable of progressive shows, which includes Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman.
In a recent Culture magazine interview, Williams explained how her shows are designed to serve as whimsical infotainment while delivering a serious message of cultural tolerance and education.
“We are a very wounded culture around this plant. It’s been misrepresented to us; there’s been a misinformation campaign. So, we need to educate ourselves around it. Our intent with Marijuana Straight Talk is to move the conversation into a place where we are imagining the best scenarios for how cultural acceptance for cannabis looks in this country.” — Becca Williams, executive producer
The Pot Scientist Reports
The freshman effort of a Denver talking (pot)head who has dubbed himself the Pot Scientist is one of the better ways I’ve spent two or three minutes of my life. Like Marijuana Straight Talk, TPS Reports (also known as Ask the Pot Scientist) respects the time of viewers, never taking more than a meager slice of one’s spare time to keep up with the series.
The Pot Scientist has tackled topics ranging from the recent decision by the Colorado Board of Health to continue to exclude PTSD from its list of qualifying conditions to cannabis testing to the role of women in the cannabis cultivation industry.
In early August 2015, the Pot Scientist declared his 20-episode “proof of concept” a success while jokingly thanking his 16 YouTube subscribers.
“I’ve proven to myself that I can write, record, edit, and release weekly video content about the marijuana industry. With this proof in hand, I plan to transform TPS…into a profitable media enterprise.” — The Pot Scientist
Whether we’ll ever see the young and energetic Pot Scientist again lurking among the petabytes of spirited activist videos on YouTube is anyone’s guess. But hopefully he’ll be back. He’s a smart and engaging host who offers a critical and well-spoken view of current events, especially those in the Boulder or Denver area and within recreationally legalized states. Until his return, there’s 20 short, informative videos available for those who want to educate themselves.
[October 31, 2015 update]
The Cannabist Show
The Cannabist Show is produced by the Denver Post’s The Cannabist, an online magazine comprised of a video series and daily news articles, including strain reviews and humorous commentary. The show is headquartered at ground zero for the marijuana movement, Denver. Chief editor Ricardo Baca welcomes weekly guests from the cannabis industry, as well as intelligent advocates, activists, and cannabusiness leaders.
Often, The Cannabist Show will cover issues based in Denver or Colorado, or investigate topics central to states that have legalized recreational cannabis. Shows include interviews with leaders within the Denver and national cannabis legalization scene.
Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer and instructional designer who has contributed feature articles to magazines such as High Times, SKUNK, Heads, Weed World, Cannabis Health Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself. He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle, and a freelance writer for various cannabis media outlets.