Colorado Public Radio’s New Marijuana Podcast Needs to Clear the Smoke

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At the same time as cannabis legalization is roofed an increasing number of by information shops and Netflix, the plant remains to be attempting to get rooted within the podcast world. Based mostly in a cannabis hotbed, Colorado Public Radio hopes to succeed the place others have failed with On One thing, a ten-episode podcast collection about America’s twisted relationship with pot.

Hosted by CPR cannabis reporter Ann Marie Awad and now obtainable by means of main podcast shops, On One thing tells tales about each individuals affected by cannabis prohibition and people benefiting from latest legalization efforts, and likewise discusses such subjects as pot’s influence on society and tradition, habit and extra. We just lately sat down with Awad to speak in regards to the collection, and the way she plans to dissect our difficult historical past with cannabis.

Westword: How far does this podcast stretch nationally?

Ann Marie Awad: The entire concept is that it is a nationwide present, however we’re telling it from Colorado, as a result of we’ve got a brand new, distinctive perspective on it. We’re not technically the primary to do that, however we had the chance to trial-run quite a lot of issues that different states ended up combating. However the irony is that as a result of we had been first, there have been quite a lot of issues that we did not take into account and different states beat us on.

We wish to get out and do extra tales from different elements of the nation, particularly within the second season, however even within the first season, we’ve got tales primarily based in Texas, hopefully Illinois and California. We wish to begin a nationwide dialog about it.

How is the podcast going to inform the story of cannabis in a different way than earlier documentaries and media protection?

That is the robust factor: We’re doing one thing that is been carried out a bunch of instances. Whereas we had been making this, my editor requested if I might seen a Netflix documentary about legalization that simply got here out and mentioned I would like to look at it to verify we do not copy it unintentionally [laughs]. However I feel we actually needed to give attention to each chapter of the best way, and the individuals affected by this. At first, we discuss these Victorian moms taking heroin for toothaches and so forth, however we’re very clear about how younger Mexican and black males had been arrested for this. After which it goes on to develop into somebody within the counterculture, like a hippie or beatnik, however nonetheless somebody who’s white and advantages from a sure degree of privilege — after which the dialog form of adjustments.

We needed to attach all of that to now, particularly in the case of California. Lots of people do not perceive that marijuana tends to be intently linked to those that are on the margins of America. We wish to give attention to the individuals who did not have management over that story.

A part of the manifesto right here, so to talk, is that marijuana is one thing that has been part of American life and tradition for a very long time, far earlier than legalization — and we’ve got to deal with it that manner. I do really feel like there’s this journalistic quaintness generally when masking legalization. But it surely appears like we have been doing this lengthy sufficient to the place the dialog can get into some extra meaty stuff.

How can a CPR podcast benefit from that likelihood to get into the meaty stuff?

The entire purpose this podcast took place was as a result of legalization is one thing the general public media must have a maintain on and assist individuals perceive — as a result of that is the essence of what we do. Should you have a look at the public-radio applications individuals join with probably the most, like Science Friday, TED Talks or Contemporary Air, it is stuff that persons are curious and wish to know extra about. In the case of a subject like this, there’s so many unknowns that folks do not know what they do not know. So we’ve got this distinctive benefit in public media to be a trusted voice in an space the place, frankly, there’s quite a lot of bullshit.

Should you Google questions on marijuana legalization now, there’s not quite a lot of dependable issues that come up. I am not disparaging web sites like Leafly, Weedmaps or something like that, however you need to have the ability to belief the place you are getting your data from, and other people have already got a relationship with public media that is primarily based on belief. It is also a extremely nice approach to carry individuals into public media who may not have sought it out earlier than. I really consider there are individuals on the market who simply wish to higher perceive what is going on on round them, even when they do not care about pot. It is a civic challenge now, and there are individuals on the market who wish to be higher and extra knowledgeable residents. I really feel like there’s greater than sufficient alternative in that viewers to personal this space.

The place will season one take listeners?

Proper now, I am engaged on an episode about immigration and the way legalization can adversely collide with our federal immigration legal guidelines. We’re principally obliged to an episode about CBD [laughs]. So for everybody who’s been asking, I can inform you there will probably be a CBD episode in season one. I actually wish to look at these new spates of social-equity laws which are being handed in states which are legalizing, with the newest being Illinois. Like expungement, it is simply unprecedented. We do not have a parallel to something like this. Every week or two in the past, we had the primary congressional listening to on reparations, and when Illinois’s governor signed the marijuana legalization, he mentioned it offered reparations. That is getting larger than pot.

We’re additionally going into cultural stuff. We have now an episode developing about religious relationships with weed. Individuals hear in regards to the Worldwide Church of Hashish and suppose it is a novelty, however we needed to take the concept severely and spend a while with it. Our subsequent episode focuses on expungement, and we comply with two individuals in Colorado from the second of arrests to their searches for housing and jobs. We present very clearly how these convictions intersect with their lives, after which we discuss what choices are and are not obtainable to them due to the state they reside in and the character of their convictions. We have now an episode about marijuana habit developing with a author from Texas, Neal Pollack, who spent about two hours with us to inform us his story.

How lengthy do you suppose cannabis will command this sort of consideration?

When individuals cease caring about it — however I do not suppose that is going to occur any time quickly. Hashish has all the time captured our creativeness, even should you’re not that keen on it. We have now concepts and perceptions about it, and it is such an indelible a part of who we’re on this nation. I do know some individuals will learn this and [disagree], however it’s. It is had such a profound influence on who will get deported and who does not, who will get arrested and who does not, who has felonies on their document and who does not, who can begin a enterprise and who cannot. Till these fascinating questions and dilemmas go away, there’s all the time going to be a necessity for this sort of reporting.

There’s additionally a humorous parallel with alcohol. Individuals discuss attending to the purpose of the place pot is not hyper-regulated, however we’ve not even gotten to the purpose of that with alcohol, actually. Did not we simply do away with near-beer in gasoline stations? Blue legal guidelines are nonetheless a factor throughout this nation. It is so intertwined with our id as a nation — this Protestant wrestle about sobriety, temperance and seriousness versus insanity, the wilderness and [whispers] coloured individuals.

What have you ever taken away about cannabis since beginning the podcast?

It is humorous, as a result of all of us wish to seem on speak reveals and say “I am the professional on this factor,” however there aren’t any consultants on this. No one. All I’m is a really curious one that can ramble on about this all day. However I’ve taken away quite a bit. I’ve taken away this wild skill to persuade those that legalization impacts them now, which positively helps promote this podcast. I imply it after I say legalization is a civic challenge. Should you’re an individual on this nation who votes and spends taxes, then this issues to you.

We had been a future episode in regards to the marijuana voter. Who is that this one that’s prone to vote for decriminalization or legalization? Who voted for marijuana decriminalization right here in Denver years in the past, and Modification 64 and the latest psilocybin measure? Each time a state votes to legalize, that could be a seismic shift in coverage. It is like watching the people who find themselves voting primarily based on well being care or jobs. It is actually necessary to know what is going on on on this nation.



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