Film and TV

Weeds: Marijuana isn't medical

Even before Weeds satirized Colorado's medical marijuana scene in 2010, the local MMJ industry has had a love-hate relationship with the Showtime program, whose run ends this season. However, last night's episode, spotlighted in a clip below, is likely to inspire only the latter reaction among folks in the biz thanks to an impassioned speech about how cannabis really isn't medical at all.

One of the ep's main subplots involves a tobacco company recruiting Silas (Hunter Parrish), hunky son of protagonist Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker), to help develop marijuana cigarettes in anticipation of pot someday becoming legal -- a timely topic given the presence on the November ballot of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.

Nancy ultimately opposes the deal, because should Silas get caught, the tobacco company rep says his firm will disavow any knowledge of his actions. But Silas feels differently. He says he's sick of pretending that the strains he's growing are medicine, because they're not. Rather, they're an illegal drug, and he's perfectly fine with that.

This argument has been central to the medical marijuana debate for years, with advocates stressing the many ways cannabis helps cancer patients like Larry Shurtleff and Bob Crouse and opponents insisting that for each patient who uses pot for medical purposes, there are many more who simply want to get high -- a desire unwittingly sanctioned by the state.

Granted, Weeds has given credence to the pro-health viewpoint this season as well, with Nancy briefly working in a hospital and arranging for cancer patients for whom other medication has been ineffective to get the marijuana they need without being gouged by the veteran employee who was dealing before her arrival. But last night's Silas speech is likely to echo longer in the ears of MMJ believers even as it gives comfort to those who've always seen the passage of Amendment 20 to be a backdoor route to legalization.

Continue for video from the episode.

Here's a scene from last night's episode -- it takes place just before Silas's medical marijuana refutation -- followed by a video from the aforementioned 2010 edition focusing on Colorado.

More from our Television & Film archive: "Weeds satirizes CO medical marijuana scene, suggests parents smoke pot before kids concerts."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts