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Breaking the Stigma of Cannabis Through Storytelling with Growing Exposed

growing exposed
PHOTO Growing Exposed


Breaking the Stigma of Cannabis Through Storytelling with Growing Exposed

A YouTube documentary series about cannabis cultivation takes viewers behind the scenes of some of the world’s most interesting grow operations.

Growing Exposed, the series dedicated to sharing the secrets of the once underground world of weed, launched its third season via their YouTube channel this past spring. In the two episodes that have aired, it’s clear that the show is looking at grows a little differently than before.  

“My thoughts are that the only way you change people’s minds or stigmas is by first letting the world know who these people really are,” said Growing Exposed creator and producer Jeremy Deichen in a phone interview earlier this month. 

Filming for seasons one and two of Growing Exposed, which launched its inaugural episode in 2015, was approached in a more straightforward manner. Tour guide Justin Cooper and the film crew would head into a grow facility and offer viewers with a visual tour, explaining what things are, and how it all works. 

Growing Exposed

Deichen explained that at that time, with the legalization of cannabis still being relatively new, growers were very skeptical about having their facilities filmed and shared over the internet. He recounts being blindfolded on the drive out to a grow operation since the owners did not want to disclose the location. 

“Five years ago, people weren’t so sure about putting themselves in the limelight. And we didn’t have a big name,” Deichen said. 

However, now, just a few years later, people are much more comfortable being filmed. 

“It’s a totally different animal. People get nervous now, because they are excited,” Deichen explained.  

In fact, things have advanced in the industry so much that cannabis brands are now willing to pay to have their own grows exposed, because they understand the value of video. If done right, the exposure leads to an increase in brand awareness, which translates to more sales and overall growth.  

Deichen, who has been in the film industry for more than 25 years, believes bringing the power of film to the cannabis industry is important. 

“Cannabis is highly regulated, so if you want to create a commercial about cannabis and run it on Facebook, it’s not going to happen,” Deichen explained. “It has to come from an educational standpoint, which is why I think the series will do so well in the future,” he said. “Cannabis will always be regulated.” 

Meet the Gardeners

Episode one of Season 3 takes viewers to the Lost Coast, one of the most undeveloped stretches of coastland in California. Before heading to the garden, viewers get to witness the beauty of the northern California coastline as trusty guide Cooper drives along the Wildcat, a windy, 30-mile road that’s over a century old. 

growing exposed

Upon his arrival to the Emerald Triangle, Cooper meets with some folks from the Smooth Farms garden crew on the beach and learns about what brought them to the beautifully remote area. 

Jake Morris, one of the cultivators at Smooth Farms explains that he likes to spend his free time surfing, paddle boarding on the river, fishing, and exploring outside. Another gardener, Ashley Weaver, explains how lucky she feels to be able to trade in her busy lifestyle for the quietness and beauty of the area. 

As Cooper gets to know the garden crew, viewers also get to form their own opinion of these people who have decided to call Humboldt home. 

“There’s no better way to tell a story than to show someone you can relate to and get them emotionally connected,” Deichen said. 

Each season of Growing Exposed is comprised of 13 episodes and takes two years to finish. With 11 episodes left, there are still lots of cannabis characters for viewers to meet. Episode 3 gets personal with some cannabis-growing nuns, and Episode 4 visits a family-oriented, Cuban-run grow out of Colorado. 

“Their stories and their insight give a more personal view into the world of large-scale cannabis cultivation,” wrote the show’s host, Amanda McKay, in a blog post about the new season. Viewers may recognize McKay from her time as a TV personality on MTV Canada and Spike TV. 

If you want your own grow exposed, you can submit a form with details about your story on the company’s website. “We are always looking for good stories,” Deichen said. “Plus, it’s a great marketing tool for companies.”

But at the end of the day, Deichen and the Growing Exposed team are motivated by the larger story they are helping tell, and the mission they are driven by. 

“We’re telling stories of the cannabis community to break the stigma,” he said. “And when you are averaging over a half of a million views a month, there is no way we are not having a major impact on our goal of advancing the cannabis industry into a positive light.”

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