As the cannabis industry continues its trajectory towards mainstream American culture, so does the ever-growing world of cannabis media.
Aside from the increased attention to cannabis from major networks like NBC and CNN (where the famed Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been singing the plant’s praises from the rooftops), YouTube also overflows with an abundance of growers, industry pros and consumers alike, all eager to shine light on cannabis (and naturally, themselves). However, in the face of YouTube’s ongoing censorship of cannabis accounts, more marijuana-friendly alternatives to the mega-popular video platform could be necessary to spread the message about the plant.
Into the mix comes Green Flower Media, a Ventura, California-based company that offers free videos — as well as a “premium” option for a little under 50 bucks a month — that explore a wide variety of cannabis topics. Many of the videos are quite informative, providing useful tips for growers and consumers alike, but the company still has room to grow — much of Green Flower’s content could be improved by an increase in production quality and a further emphasis on highlighting diverse voices in the cannabis community.
Green Flower has the opportunity to present the conversation around cannabis on highly professional terms; after all, they describe themselves as “the #1 space for honest and reliable cannabis information.” While the videos sometimes appear out of touch with the real concerns and interests of those in the cannabis community at large, the presentations do include the perspectives of many of the most influential people in the industry and show cannabis in a non-threatening light that will certainly appeal to novice consumers.
Green Flower was founded by Max Simon, a longtime cannabis consumer himself with a background in business development. He has assembled a team full of pros, including Mike Seashols, a former vice president at Oracle, and Will Petruski, who previously oversaw sales at the influential cannabis investment company, the Arcview Group.
Simon has filled his company’s videos with an impressive collection of hosts and on-air interview subjects, including the well-regarded breeder and educator Kyle Kushman, veteran grower Derek Gilman and Harborside founder Steve DeAngelo. These savvy industry experts naturally have a lot to say, and Green Flower churns out a ton of content to fit their voices, which results in hundreds of hours of videos.
The videos are divided up into several categories, including “Grow Guidance,” “Cannabis 101” and “Lifestyle,” and they run a wide gamut, from a sit-down interview series called “High Rollers” to canna-cooking demos, and from short-form documentaries to half-hour talking-head pieces.
Simon couldn’t point to a particular outlet or style of filmmaking that Green Flower has taken inspiration from, but instead, explained that “we’ve been forging our own pathway, based on the complicated nature of cannabis.”
While Green Flower’s content could benefit from a representation of the diverse voices in the cannabis industry, Simon expressed that finding “credible experts, notable figures who are willing to be on camera” has been difficult for the company.
Green Flower’s strongest videos take deep dives into the nitty-gritty of growing cannabis and the plant’s myriad of effects and health benefits. Take one clip about spider mites, a common pest for cannabis plants. Host Kyra Rude, an “Integrated Pest Management Expert,” offers constructive suggestions on how to keep them away. Her first tip: plant beans around your cannabis as a “sacrificial plant” that attracts the mites.
In another video, in-house producer Mandee Lee explains the pros and cons of juicing cannabis in helpful and concise terms at Green Flower’s studio. (Also of note: Green Flower’s blog, featuring posts like “How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System” and “How to Become a Cannabis Industry Accountant,” contains similarly constructive information.)
Things get less compelling when the videos shy away from this informational angle. A 15- minute-long documentary centered around the legendary Mendocino grower Swami Chaitanya’s 75th birthday adopts a VICE-like cinema verité style that works well with its casual tone, but it treats Chaitanya’s partner Nikki Lastreto like a ghost who just happens to be in every other shot. Another film promises to dish up the “Untold Story” on the iconic activist and businessman Steve DeAngelo, but spends a lot of time showing him walking in the woods.
The videos which could use the most improvement are found in Green Flower’s “On Cannabis” series. By focusing on more than thin white people doing yoga on the beach, taking a bath or running in the woods after hitting a vaporizer as mid-tempo electronic music plays, the mission to encourage consumers to enhance normal activities could come across as more applicable rather than cartoonish. Green Flower’s content in this series could be further enhanced by including a wider range of racial diversity and lifestyle choices that cannabis consumers (and other cannabis content mainstays like VICE, for instance) regularly embrace.
Ultimately, Green Flower is clearly committed to cannabis education and de-stigmatization. As Simon pointed out, Green Flower contains a growing database of information — as well as a free e-book — for folks interested in finding jobs in the cannabis industry. Their videos also contain an abundance of helpful information, though you just might have to be willing to dig a little to find what you’re looking for.
TELL US, have you watched any of Green Flower Media’s web videos?