After 38 million people tuned in to watch reporter Trish Regan's documentary Marijuana Inc.: Inside America's Pot Industry — making it CNBC's most-watched original documentary ever — it wasn't surprising to hear the network green-lighted a follow-up. Marijuana USA premiered yesterday, but will re-air at 6 and 10 p.m. tonight, Dec. 9, and at 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12.
So what was surprising about the film?
"What I'm most surprised at is how people are willing to risk it all for the chance to be in this industry," said Regan in a phone conversation on Monday. "Because you are taking on a lot of chance there, a lot of risk, by doing something that's illegal as far as the federal government is concerned."
A good part of the documentary is set in Denver, and its roster is a virtual who's who of the local MMJ industry. Department of Revenue senior director of enforcement Matt Cook makes an appearance. Simply Pure's Wanda James and husband Scott Durrah are interviewed, as is physician James Boland, whose practice has brought in over a million dollars in its first year.
"It's hard, right now in Colorado, because there's a lot of competition," Regan says, "but there's an opportunity there to make a lot of money, and I think people feel often very strongly from a political perspective that they want to help change the laws."
The 33-year-old Columbia University graduate and co-host of The Call says Colorado is "the emerging market of pot" and thinks MMJ itself has a bright future.
"The science is there to really prove a need for medical marijuana," she says. "And I think it's going to become increasingly hard for the federal government to look at people with debilitating illnesses and say, 'No, we're not gonna allow you to have this form of pain relief.'
"So I think from a medical perspective, eventually marijuana will be legal."
During the upcoming Colorado legislative session, Rep. Claire Levy, a Boulder Democrat, will co-sponsor a bill to establish a marijuana impairment standard of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Colorado Springs Rep. Mark Waller is expected to join Levy as a co-sponsor.
"I had asked the Drug Task Force [a subcommittee of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice] to look at this issue, and consider whether it was possible to establish a THC level from which you could reliably conclude a person was driving while impaired," said Levy in a Tuesday phone conversation.
Though it's still early for most details, it's likely that suspects would be blood-tested at a licensed facility after the traffic stop. If passed, the law could take effect as soon as July.
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