Discovery Channel plans marijuana reality show

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 11:28 EDT
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The Discovery Channel has greenlit, so to speak, a new reality show to debut this fall that follows the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary, according to a report published Wednesday morning.

Focusing on Steve DeAngelo (pictured, left), proprietor of the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Weed Wars looks to strip the mystique off the emerging, legally ambiguous world of retail marijuana sales.

“From the inner workings of the business to Steve’s distinctive leadership style, Weed Wars is a fascinating glimpse into this highly unique setting,” Discovery executive Nancy Daniels told Entertainment Weekly. “Like Gold Rush or Deadliest Catch, these are guys pursuing their own version of the American Dream.”

In California, where medical marijuana has been legal and easily available since 1996, hundreds of such clinics have sprung up, with Oakland and Los Angeles being ground zero.

DeAngelo’s dispensary, apart from offering marijuana and THC-infused foods, features training for aspiring pot gardeners, health programs like acupuncture and yoga, a lab that conducts safety screenings and potency analysis on their products, and an activist center where customers can help further national efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The Harborside Health Center is one of Oakland’s top pot shops, claiming over 80,000 clients. It has been called “the Baskin Robbins of marijuana” by comedian D.L. Hughley, who toured the store in 2009 for a segment on CNN. They’ve also recently launched a second location in San Jose.

A bio for DeAngelo claims his father worked for the Kennedy administration and marched with civil rights activists, inspiring DeAngelo’s activism as an adult. He is also one of the founding members of Americans for Safe Access, a leading marijuana advocacy organization, and Steep Hill, one of a small but growing number of laboratories offering cannabis analysis services.

DeAngelo did not reply to a request for comment. Discovery’s executives confirmed to Raw Story that the show is in production, but were also unavailable to comment further at time of this story’s publication.

The video below is from CNN’s “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News,” broadcast March 28, 2009. (Harborside Health Center featured at 2:15.)

Image credit: Harborside Health Center.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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