Shocker: MTV True Life: I'm In the Marijuana Business subject unhappy with portrayal

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Although it could have been a snapshot of hardworking people in the cannabis industry, last night's MTV's True Life "I'm in the Marijuana Business" was an hour-long train wreck.

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.

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Gemma and Pa
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.

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.


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39 comments
Tpnyc34
Tpnyc34

Hey Chris i live in hayward i would like to get some of that good shit how can i get intouch with u?

Byrdtcsn
Byrdtcsn

I agree with this article. Yeah for Gemma to leave abusive Pa what a loser.

Colorado_Pyro
Colorado_Pyro

To be fair, it was called "I'm in the Marijuana Business" not "I'm in the Medical Marijuana Business".

Daleskyjones
Daleskyjones

I have to mention, dude did not spend "thousands of dollars" on an education with Oaksterdam University...a fact that can quickly be checked by looking at the website.  A full weekend seminar is $300...not thousands.  What he learned was how to "get political and be legal".  If you can learn how to talk to your parents and stay out of jail...learn what not to do, I think that it is a good investment to learn with professionals.  I noticed the OU grad is the only one that didn't totally irritate you?

You talk about some glaring stupidity, I think not knowing what you are getting yourself into with this industry would be stupid. I applaud anyone trying to do it right.  I also agree he should move if this airs! lol

jimmyb
jimmyb

Honestly, I think the problems between Pa and Gemma, could be the problems of ANY couple trying to start a business from the ground up.  I've seen marriages ruined over restaurants, record stores, production studios, etc.  So I think it was a good segment, actually, to show thatthe pressures of starting a business, no matter what it pushes, is a very stressful thing which will test everything about you, expose every weakness.  Their relationship was a very weak thing for both of them and it broke.  I don't think it would have been one iota different if they were opening  a taco stand.

Erin
Erin

Let me get this straight. Ashes now is attending an online program to become a Personal Trainer?There is some irony.. and an insult to legitimate trainers.

Dutchess
Dutchess

they could have kept their fucking act together civil while the cameras are on.  thanks assholes!

Lady
Lady

MTV exploited some young people you say, well that is a shocker! I felt sorry for all the participants at the end because MTV clearly chose each one for MTV's own reasons. Lets all wish Gemma and her family well, she is still doing her part here locally and I think the most truthful part of the CO segment showed how hard the learning curve is, especially for those whose dream is bigger than their business experience. I could relate to that part for sure. Likely she is not the only one whose relationship is being strained by working with a family member to build an MMJ business, just the only one showing it on TV...  

DenverScener
DenverScener

Gemma and Pa - Wish they never moved to our great state. What evil trash.Ashes - Would be a great Dispensary employee.Chris - What a dipship. Word of advice - Go trim at one of the thousands of million dollar grows happening every year in the "Holy Trinity" - Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity Counties. After a few years, you will have learned enough, made enough money and contacts, to buy some land and start your own grow. After a couple years you too can live phat off of the legal buying power and high selling prices that is the quasi-legal marijuana world.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Let's face it. It's MTV. They picked the most eccentric person they possibly could to film because they knew what it would entail. True Life is a drama show, not a "look how positive the medical marijuana business is" show. If you wanted something like that watch Marijuana USA's look inside the Denver MM industry. But if anyone, including the two featured, thought this wasn't going to happen and this wasn't how they were going to be portrayed, then they are naive and stupid.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

-- with your penchant for beating dead horses, it's best to remain anonymous (but H.C.C. doesn't care).

Sd Blue
Sd Blue

Does Oaksterdam really charge people thousands to teach them how to grow? It used to be people bought a $25 book and that was enough. Sounds like they might be taking advantage of all these westward bound dreamers of making it big types.

Trumantbradley
Trumantbradley

We declined. Had seen too many MTV true life debacles. 

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Can we all just take the rest of the year off?  get high?  forget about all this medical bullshit?  It's weed man, smoke it and forget about it!  Who actually pays to eat the shit?  Make a brownie with left over roaches at last.  If it's not good enough to smoke they turn it into edibles, now I get it.  And that helps people?  I mean I love my weed, but none of the people on this MTV show know a thing about health or sanitation.

Guest
Guest

You really need to stop calling yourself a "caregiver": you are obviously nothing of the fucking sort.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

A patient named me as their caregiver, so I'm not calling myself anything, I was given a responsibility....

check out http://marijuanaphotos.co to see what grows up in the High Country , I speak for the trees and the trees chose me of the f----- sort....

Guest
Guest

I'm sorry, do you mean to say others signed you up for this board and gave you your name? You didn't choose it? That slamming sound you hear is me slamming my forehead against my desk in frustration.....your stupid really fucking hurts, "dude".

What's really sad is that the science of medical marijuana and the endocannabinoid system is real and very, very important....but you just keep pushing your brand of ignorance and living like a slinger.

You say you "speak for the trees" but your knowledge is so obviously limited by your ignorance of the "medical bullshit" (gee, you must be a real scholar!) that unless those trees are growing out of your ass you have failed massively.

Seriously, pick up a book or a scientific journal every once in awhile. Start with Dr. M. Guzman's research from the University of Madrid on the anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids.

You need to grow, just like your plants. Science -- real, lab-controlled science -- is a great nutrient and will serve you well. Without it, you will always be nothing but shwag.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Just because people are hairy and covered in tattoos doesn't mean they didn't wash their hands!

Ry Prichard
Ry Prichard

Eh, I was very happy with the way my segment turned out.  Were I in the final cut of the show, I probably would've cringed a bit at some things, but nothing I do in my daily life would look as awful as what ended up being shown of the Denver story.  Ultimately, I was too boring and technical, with not quite enough hairnet-less edible-making, drama, and costumes.  I'm thankful they used me for the webisode, as I think it showed Colorado's MMJ scene in a positive and professional light and touched on most of the key aspects of our business.  Can't front on some promo!

As far as the Ashes story, that was the most interesting one to me... don't forget that the show was not called "I'm in the MEDICAL marijuana business"... she was in the marijuana business in a more real way than many, lacking in options compared to someone without her past.  The criminal background + job search element was probably the toughest challenge that anyone faced in the show, and it's something that a lot of people struggle with, especially in the MMJ industry where a cultivation felony still disqualifies you from a badge.  

The Cali story had me laughing out loud, mostly at the freaky doctor who asked, "does it make you feel more ONE with whatever you're doing?" as part of the medical evaluation.  But Chris seems like a typical "intro to medical marijuana" type of story, and also seems like a decent guy with a dream, much like I consider myself.  Yes the Oaksterdam stuff was very hokey, and I also was thinking, "hope he's not living in that same apartment when the show airs" as he discussed the landlord situation.

Anyway, I guess my point is that you can only be upset with a negative portrayal when more than a few negative things happen.  I try to remain professional and driven at all times, and I hope that our work at KindReviews.com shows that.  Thanks to anyone who watched my webisode.

Guest
Guest

This makes me sad for everyone involved. I'm sure MTV could make any couple look bad when they quarrel, especially ones involved in an industry on the cusp of legality; such stress is difficult enough to conquer without cameras shoved in your face.

I love Buddha Bars. They are tasty and potent and made with wholesome stuff and I hope the owner(s?) manage to transcend this bullshit and have a bright future.

Fuck MTV.

WOW
WOW

this is some ridiculous shit. those buddha ass clowns just put themselves out of business if they aren't already out of business.

Dutchess
Dutchess

the buddha bar is good-but there's other good edbiles just are strong out there (cheeba, harlequin bar and Dr J's just to name a few).

Robert
Robert

You all are far too harsh on Gemma.  Have you ever had a Buddha Bar?  I think they're rather good even without being infused with cannabis.

Oaff
Oaff

they really are pretty good.

that does really kinda make me want to support them less but,

ive definitely spent a whole eating nothing but buddah bars and getting toasty as all hell

Oaff
Oaff

its kind of a psychosemantic thing for me to actually be eating raw pot, its like your brain KNOWS its getting high cause it tastes so much plant matter

or something like that

i know what you mean

Ry Prichard
Ry Prichard

Yeah I didn't mind the flavor, though the consistency was a little weird.  Mostly weird is the way the packaging tends to leak creepy oil after they sit on the shelf for a while.  The baby one bounced right off me, haven't had the biggie.

Stan
Stan

MTV destroyed television and they are responsible for the diminished intelligence of millions of teenagers across the nation.  Most people recognize that MTV is shit.  Were you really expecting to gain anything by watching this?

Dowdy
Dowdy

How are you a writer?  Your article is a "train wreck"...I spent more time trying to figure out what you were trying to say and crack your cryptic code.  Next time have someone read your work before posting!  FYI - just because MS Word doesn't pick up on your poor grammar doesn't mean it correct.

Robert
Robert

No, it "doesn't mean it correct [sic]", but other than "choosing to showcasing", to what do you object?

Dowdy
Dowdy

I guess I should proof read my own work before posting...lol

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

I saw the show last night, it's nice to uncover the truth that dispensaries are serving up edibles from people I don't even want to look at let alone be fed by....

The Cali dude had a closet set up with dreams of selling to San Francisco dispensaries, yea right!

The drug dealer hardcore chick was actually making money flipping qp's and she actually had it right by not talking any medical bullshit like the rest of the shows characters.

Robert
Robert

I thought that at one point she referred to an expected shipment as "medicine" -- interesting that that usage has spread to the upper East Coast.  Responsible clinicians are willing to characterize much use of cannabis as medical -- who are you to dismiss it as "bullshit"?  Would you prefer that the medical establishment continue to condemn most use of cannabis as "abuse"?

I disagree entirely with the notion that medical cannabis has been a distraction in the fight to end Prohibition.  Non-users are more sympathetic to medical use, so it was and remains the only way forward in many places.  The medical regime has brought hundreds of thousands of users into compliance with state law, and their change in status from criminal to patient has emboldened some to stand up for their rights and learn about the political process.  The medical utility of cannabis is a fact which continues to be denied completely by our incompetent and dishonest leaders; we cannot imagine that the fight for patients' rights is over if and when we succeed in removing cannabis from Schedule 1.  The many patients and caregivers who agree with me that patients' rights to cannabis must be upheld against the prohibitionist backlash see how Colorado's political; legal; and journalistic establishments have twisted; ignored; and contradicted our Constitution, they know that we must end Prohibition to restore their rights, and they constitute the core of the political movement to overturn Prohibition.  I will continue to advocate for the re-legalization of cannabis (both within the context of medical use and outside it) because I support individuals' right to control their own bodies.

Robert ChaseColorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers(720) 213-6497

Robert
Robert

What does she expect from MTV?  The Unreal World and its successor, Lives Falsified, bear little resemblance to reality beyond their de rigeur portrayal of twenty-somethings as self-absorbed and engaged in petty drama.  The subject matter (and my very brief appearance) induced me to sit through an entire show (it's online) -- it wasn't so very awful.

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