New series about the day-to-day operations of Oakland, California's Harborside Health Center, the world's largest medical cannabis dispensary.
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1  
2011  

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Series cast summary:
Stephen De Angelo ...  Himself - Executive Director 4 episodes, 2011
Andrew David DeAngelo ...  Andrew DeAngelo 4 episodes, 2011
Andrew DeAngelo ...  Himself - General Manager / ... 2 episodes, 2011
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New series about the day-to-day operations of Oakland, California's Harborside Health Center, the world's largest medical cannabis dispensary.

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1 December 2011 (USA)  »

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Didn't change my perspective on marijuana
15 June 2012 | by See all my reviews

I subtitled two episodes of this show (I'm a subtitler by profession), so I spent quite a long time with those two episodes. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on making a show about the pros and cons about marijuana (which the title would suggest), the producers chose to make yet ANOTHER reality show.

Let me say that this show definitely didn't change my mind on marijuana. I'm mostly against marijuana as I've spent too much time around people who smoked weed everyday and consequently could barely get anything done. Nevertheless, I'm aware of if it's medicinal uses, so I had hoped this show would highlight those, but no. I particular remember reading a scientific article in the Danish magazine Illustreret Videnskab (Science Illustrated) about the use of marijuana as medicine.

The owner of the shop, Steve DeAngelo, was definitely the person I liked the best. He seemed well-spoken and was telling a bit about the medicinal use of marijuana and mentioned that they had produced a marijuana with a higher percentage of CBD, which is the medicinal component, and less content of THC, which is the component that makes you high. This segment took up less than two minutes of one episode of the show. At one point, Steve had to pick out clothes from his massive wardrobe, so he, of course, had to sit down and have some "medicine" (weed). Come on! What is your illness if you have to smoke weed because you can't decide which clothes to put on? Neither did we get to hear about a single illness from any of the employees, but nevertheless it seemed like all of them smoked weed constantly. Some of the producers of the marijuana they were selling would sometimes send the shop a big bundle of samples, and the shop would hand these out to the employees. Steve's brother Andrew was simply a pothead – nothing else! Only he knows, but it definitely seemed like he was stoned whenever he was on camera: "Then don't work here maaaayyyyn!" He seemed like a caricature out of The Simpsons.

We did hear about a few people who had very painful diseases, where marijuana would take away the pain. That's great. More of that please. Other than that, it was just a reality show about what's going on in a shop selling weed. It showed that most of the employees and most of the customers would be stoned constantly and talk or think about nothing else than weed. When the employees would talk about a special type of marijuana, they wouldn't mention the percentage of CBD, the medicinal component, but only the percentage of THC, while they were drooling. For instance, they were preparing for the annual "weed day", and they saved special products for that day. So one employee said: "This one tested at 18,44%. With this kind of a test result it's just gonna fly out of here. Of everything we're saving, this one here will disappear the fastest. It's got 24% THC, and it's the best deal, the most bang for your buck". So, the employees and apparently also the customers, as they are the ones buying the weed with higher THC content, seem to prioritize how high the product will make you, not how much pain it will relieve.

After seeing this show, I agree with one of the critics: Most of the people "on medicine" are not even sick. My personal opinion is that although marijuana might not be as physically addictive as alcohol, cocaine or other substances, the mental addictiveness is enormous. People who smoke a lot of weed get addicted to the feeling of being high and escaping their problems. They don't want to come back to reality and face the problems that has to be solved sooner or later. This series shows us that for most users, marijuana might not be as dangerous as heroin, alcohol or other substances, but it's just as much an escape.

To finish off, here's a quote from that Danish science magazine, Illustreret Videnskab (issue 16 from 2005):

"All scientists agree that marijuana is a drug that makes you sluggish and reduce your ability to react and focus. Abuse destroys your memory and ability to learn, and smoking marijuana for long periods of time increases the risk of lung diseases like lung cancer and bronchitis. It is also know that large amounts of marijuana may result in psychoses and paranoid conditions for some people".


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