Wanda James's advice to critics of The Daily Show's Denver weed story: "Chill"

The Daily Show's send-up of the Denver medical-marijuana scene earlier this week didn't thrill everyone in the MMJ community.

Westword marijuana critic William Breathes, in a post about what viewers didn't see, noted reading "blogs and posts from folks in the Colorado MMJ community... about how they were disappointed in the show, and that they felt it was getting a laugh at the expense of medical ganja users."

To that, Wanda James, co-owner of Apothecary of Colorado, who wound up being portrayed as something of a villain in the piece, says, "Come on, everybody. Relax. Chill."

In the segment, correspondent Jason Jones pitted small dispensaries, symbolized by Delta 9, fronted by Jason Holck, against larger operations like AOC, run by James and her partner/husband Scott Durrah. But she doesn't get hung up on the casting.

"Maybe we got to play the bad guy," she concedes, "but it was a comedy show, for God's sake. When The Daily Show called us, we didn't expect anything else. We didn't expect serious journalism. We expected to have a great time, and we did.

"There were no facts in it at all," she goes on. "This wasn't 60 Minutes. I mean, we don't operate a 20,000 square-foot weed emporium. And the other dispensary had been there for four months, and we've been there for four months. Nobody can claim this industry yet; it's only a year old. And there are definitely dispensaries larger than us, but so what?

"I liken it to restaurants. There are a lot of restaurants bigger than 8 Rivers," which she and Durrah also own. "The Cheesecake Factory is just around the corner. But people come to 8 Rivers because they love 8 Rivers, not because it's the biggest restaurant they can find."

James concedes that she's received "a few crazy phone calls" from people who weren't wowed by the Daily Show results, but "Scott and I had a blast."

She adds, "I've been part of a lot of industries, and politics is funny as hell, running a restaurant is funny as hell, and the marijuana community definitely has some funny things about it. So I thought it made Denver seem a little more exciting to the rest of the world."

Especially people with a sense of humor.

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