Tonight the Discovery Channel is rolling out what they’re calling “Weed Wednesdays” with the premiere of Weed Country. Here’s a brief intro about the show via the network’s official site:
In a remote wilderness tucked deep inside the border of California and Oregon – known as the Emerald Triangle – marijuana flourishes. Farmers in this area can earn millions in a single summer, but with that kind of reward comes huge risk. Growing marijuana here is a cutthroat business — where only the best survive.
Weed Country, a new six part series on Discovery Channel, shows the battle between cops, dealers and the growers looking to engineer some of the most powerful marijuana on earth.
Two of the growers featured on the show are Mike Boutin and wife Tawni Boutin. Mike is a fascinating character in addition to being a highly outspoken advocate for the legalization of marijuana. He is a host on the Cannabis Nation Radio and his very public Facebook page self-description does a good job of summing up his stance on this topical issue.
I am a sold out believer in the miracle plant Cannabis and willingly face incarceration on a continuing basis to ensure that needy people get the help they need. I will not accept a world where everything is a crime and everyone says, “that’s your problem.” I believe prohibition is insanity and has only been a jobs program, that it has been counter productive to society and has only led to the U.S being way down the list in education and #1 in incarceration.
I believe that anyone who claims prohibition is or has worked, might as well claim the “earth is flat” that they will be on an equally factual foundation. I believe the war on drugs is the biggest civil rights issue of our time. I believe in honest debate and that it has become out of fashion, given over to “sound bites” baseless assertions and rhetoric. I think I’m gonna need some help!
Mike sat down with reason.com to discuss the show and the agenda he’s looking to push forward.
RTV: Talk about your fight a little bit and some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome.
Boutin: Well, I’ve used marijuana since I was 17-years-old. I’ve always had to try to stay out of trouble with it. When you learn all of the reasons why marijuana shouldn’t be criminalized you sort of become responsible for the information. I just decided to do something. I really didn’t want to live in a world where they haul people off to jail for using a substance that’s safer than alcohol.
RTV: I know you’re really a proponent of medical marijuana because it helps people and law enforcement doesn’t see it like that. Where do you think the disconnect comes in?
Boutin: I think the disconnect is and it’s gonna make people angry that I say this but marijuana users, the community as a whole, if you want to call it that is a lot like an iceberg. Most of it is out of sight but what can be seen is ominous. And so their correlation/causation model gets turned on its head because I’ve heard police officers say, “I’ve never dealt with a heroin addict that didn’t have marijuana.” And so they think that there’s this progression, they think that marijuana leads to all these other things so they’re more than happy to go after marijuana users.
RTV: What’s stopping you from being thrown in jail right now?
Boutin: Nothing. The whim of law enforcement and I’m not worried about that… I just feel compelled to step up regardless of the consequences.
RTV: You did say the conversation is moving forward. How does this show really help with that?
Boutin: It really is a fair look at 360 degrees and I think that the viewer’s going to be able to sort it out from their living room without the pressure of somebody elbowing them trying to get them to line up on their side.
Here’s Mike’s official bio via Discovery:
50s, Proprietor, Grace Farms. He’s been involved in pot farming for 35 years.
Affable, easy going but with a scrappy side, Mike has real problems with authority. Perhaps it comes from growing up with an overbearing father who was a local deputy. He also has a brother who is a police officer in a neighboring county.
Mike so believes in the medicinal promise of pot that he actually gives away a portion of his crop to patients in need who can’t afford it. Since he can’t trust the dispensaries, he chooses to risk going to jail by being a direct-to-patient provider which puts him on the highway at the dark of night exposed to cops and thieves.
He’s an evangelical Christian who loves country, dogs, guns and weed and cultivates the finest in the region. The poachers agree and several times each summer, Mike has to shoot off guns and run dogs to keep thieves away. He has a fatalistic approach to life and expects to either go to jail or grow old providing the best cannabis to sick people. Nothing in between.
Over the course of a single summer, the cops will shut down his bank account, confiscate his guns and show up on his property when neighbors threaten to invade his land. He makes a tentative deal with Matt Shotwell to distribute some of his weed in Vallejo, an arrangement that doesn’t bode well for one of them.
Weed Country hits the airwaves tonight at 10|9c on Discovery. Another original show, Pot Cops, will be coming to Discovery on Wednesday nights in April.