Previously, the topic of marijuana on both network and cable television has been limited to reality shows, 60-minute specials and the occasional antics of Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Kimmel. But that is starting to change.
The most recent Gallup poll reported 58 percent of the country supports cannabis legalization, and some states have had medical marijuana programs for over a decade. It is a consistent topic of conversation on social media and in presidential debates. Seeing that marijuana is part of millions of American’s lives, tv networks are starting to test the waters.
HBO is seeing the genius in High Maintenance, an already-successful web series on Vimeo. While the politics of an independent web series becoming property of an entertainment juggernaut has sparked debate among fans, HBO has ordered six episodes with the potential for more.
It is worth noting that many of the new projects are using legal marijuana dispensaries as a backdrop to their stories. Parks & Recreation’s Adam Scott is set to produce a show for NBC along with his wife, producer Naomi Scott, about life in a legal Colorado dispensary. Kevin Smith is so excited about his show “Hollyweed” that he foot the bill for the pilot. It also centers around life in a marijuana dispensary, and is being sponsored by companies within the cannabis industry. Margaret Cho is part of Highland, a series for Amazon about life in a dispensary owned by her parents. This show will have more of a dramatic bent, with Cho’s character attending court-ordered rehab.
A script co-written by Chuck Lorre and David Javerbaum is being shown to major networks and direct-to-consumer providers like Netflix. The plot involves an ensemble cast of coworkers at a Colorado dispensary. Lorre and Javerbaum have 24 emmys between them, which might be enough to convince networks to pick up the show.
These projects involve enough influential actors, producers and networks to signify that cannabis culture will start to appear in mainstream entertainment more frequently. Stay tuned.