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Joint Ventures: Inside America’s Almost Legal Marijuana Industry

Cover of the book 'Joint Ventures' by Trish Regan

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Joint Ventures: Inside America’s Almost Legal Marijuana Industry

Trish Reagan, host of CNBC’s infamous sensationalized cannabusiness documentaries “Marijuana, Inc.”, doesn’t smoke marijuana and never has. She really wants you to know that.

While “Joint Ventures” is an accurate snapshot of the emerging industry and does a real service highlighting many of its shortcomings through anecdotal stories, Reagan is unable to disassociate reefer madness stigma from fact, creating a hyper-sensationalized narrative playing on the excitement of cops and robbers drama rather than the reality of the cannabis market today — a legal gray area mostly comprised of small businesses that are destroyed at law enforcement’s whim.

Small businesses are key to her argument that legalizing cannabis and decriminalizing possession or use would make fiscal and social sense. Reagan says cannabis is the only growth industry providing such a diverse and promising array of business opportunities today.

To be clear, she concludes that marijuana should be legal and the industry should be allowed to grow, but non-biased journalism is a slippery slope. Reagan falls victim throughout to the illusion of fair and balanced reporting by giving weight to federal arguments against cannabis use, although they are in no way rooted in actual science.

As Reagan explores the various layers of the industry — from dispensaries, the Emerald Triangle, Broadsterdam in Denver and Oaksterdam in Oakland, medical patients and the wave of new investment capital flooding the industry — she maintains a standoffish relationship with the plant, as a reader you almost wish she had concluded the book just trying it. Just. One. Puff.

There is no new information in “Joint Ventures” for anyone ingrained in or familiar with the industry, but perhaps the tome serves as a good snapshot for the unconvinced. A recurrent theme throughout is “What if?” What if it was just legal, what would that look like and how would it change society? She concludes any changes would be positive. Perhaps her cannabis virginity adds a layer of comfort and identity to her arguments for those outside the fold, but those within it are just dying for her to light up.

First appeared in Issue 10 of Cannabis Now Magazine.

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