Shocker: MTV True Life: I'm In the Marijuana Business subject unhappy with portrayal
Instead of being shown business people having success in the marijuana industry, all the current MTV generation saw was an abusive relationship, a naive newby and a drug dealer. This was hardly representative of "true life" for most people I know in the legitimate marijuana business.
In Colorado, we're introduced to Gemma and Pa. I know plenty of people approached to do the show (including myself) that either declined or were too old to meet MTV's 28-year-old cutoff, so maybe this is all we were left with.
Gemma and Pa
The two, both former street kids and rail riders, recently moved to Denver because they saw a chance to finally establish a legitimate business around cannabis for themselves. They moved out here during the big pot boom and started Buddha Bar, a weed-infused energy bar.
I'm not a state-ist. I believe everyone should be able to move where they want in this country to make a better life for themselves. But there are literally thousands of people who have been in the Colorado MMJ industry for longer than a few months who had successful businesses that producers could have focused on. For example, I know they followed KindReviews owner Ry Prichard around for a while, but only used the footage for a "webisode."
But nobody's going to even remember the Buddha Bar business from the show after seeing how volatile the two were with each other. That's all I could focus on, myself. The two were getting in arguments constantly to the point where it becomes physical. In once scene, we are shown Pa throwing something at Gemma as she storms out during a fight and Gemma calling the police to their Platte Park apartment because of it. Nothing like associating domestic violence with an industry meant to be about healing and positivity.
I can't blame MTV for airing what they aired. Ignoring their volatile personal life would have been ignoring a big part of their story, and it's not like the two didn't realize there weren't cameras in their home.
I spoke with a tearful Gemma this morning. She was sad, but says she doesn't regret doing the show. What she regrets is how she and Pa were portrayed by the production company that filmed the episode for MTV, Punched in the Head Productions. She takes responsibility for fighting on camera ("that was stupid to do"), but says the producers had a boatload of "positive footage" they could have used. "Cannabis is a wonderful medicine," she said. "And they didn't really see that or give it a positive name." She said herself and Pa aren't together anymore, but that they remain friends.
Calls to the producer for the show were not immediately returned.
It just would have been nice to see a success story instead of the mess we were shown. Medical marijuana is a serious benefit for people and there are a lot of really devoted, positive people in this industry. Not to say Buddha Bar isn't about healing, but choosing to showcasing this couple's dysfunction only furthers people's misconceptions about this plant and the people who use it. But as I said, the producers only used what they were given.
The rest of William's take on MTV's True Life: I'm in the Marijuana Business is on the next page.