It hasn't been so easy for medical marijuana in California lately. In the past few months alone, the industry has been plagued by a renewed federal crackdown, countless raids, foreclosure proceedings against dispensaries and crippling tax bills.
But a new show on the Discovery Channel may help to shed light on the realities of the business: Operations that allow patients access alternative medicine, entrepreneurs to build their own shops from scratch and a multi-million dollar "green" economy to thrive.
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"Weed Wars," premiering this Thursday at 10pm on the Discovery Channel, chronicles the daily bustle of Oakland's Harborside Health Center, the largest marijuana dispensary in the United States (they boast a whopping 94,000 clients). The show also looks at the whole spectrum of the California cannabis industry, from the growers to the "patient farmers" to the customers themselves.
Harborside made national headlines last October when CEO Steve DeAngelo announced he had been hit with a $2.4 million tax bill by the IRS -- enough to put his entire company out of business. No word as to whether his taxation woes made it into this season of the show, but you can bet we'll be following along to find out.
Or perhaps "Weed Wars" will be so successful that Harborside's story will continue to unfold for seasons to come, and the shop will have to stay alive for the audience's sake.
(Added bonus: The Doggfather himself recorded the show's theme song.)
So tune in Thursday, people: The future of California cannabis depends on you. And in the mean time, take a look at a preview below: