BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – An online docuseries that pulls back the curtain on some little-known cannabis industry pioneers premiered Friday, just in time to be part of the annual 4/20 celebration. “Cannabiz” introduces viewers to established and emerging companies that are taking the rapidly evolving business of weed to new heights.
Five episodes, each devoted to an innovator making a mark in the recreational and/or medical arena, debuted Friday. Another five are expected to debut April 30, according to former MTV “Total Request Live” VJ and social entrepreneur Quddus, who hosts the series. In each segment, he explores how a cannabis startup found success and what the future may hold in a rapidly changing social and political landscape.
Quddus said he feels his approach to the subject matter gives the series a strong foundation. He openly admits he’s “not a complete convert” to the cannabis lifestyle, largely owing to his early experiences with weed before use became legal. Back then, he said, exploration left him feeling guilty, so he never allowed himself to enjoy the experience for what it was.
Recently, though, he “rediscovered” the plant in a more enlightened environment.
Using cannabis “is a very different experience now,” he said. “It’s a beautiful journey. It feels right.”
Weed also helps him find peace in a world that hasn’t always been kind to his inner self. When MTV hired him in 2001, he was thrilled, he said, but “I was anxious about appearing in front of millions of people. I started relying on traditional meds to sleep.”
If only the young Canadian had known then what the older and wiser citizen of the world knows now.
“I wish there had been a show to show me what cannabis really is,” he said.
That, he said, is the source of his passion for “Cannabiz,” which he approached with a journalist’s skepticism, not as an insider who has “drunk the Kool-Aid.”
Among the highlights of the series — shot in 4K in several locations around the U.S. — is three U.S. military veterans’ compelling mission to help their fellow vets avoid opioid addiction by providing them access to medical cannabis. Another episode visits a “sauce pen” creator whose specialized technique is a game-changer for vaping. In yet another, Quddus explores the cannabis industry’s own “shark tank” incubator — a startup helping other startups find the drive and the means to set the weed business ablaze.
Though each episode comprises a unique look at disparate entities, one thread ties them all together, Quddus said.
“All of these people have an earnest commitment to making a real difference in what could be a risky business environment,” he said. He doesn’t expect the “riskiness” to attach to the industry for long, though. “In 10-15 years, we’ll be talking about cannabis like we talk about coffee.”
“Cannabiz” is a production of 420TV, a video-on-demand entertainment and lifestyle network devoted to original programming, news and other content for, and about, the worldwide cannabis phenomenon. The docuseries also may be viewed on the 420TV app for iOS and Android devices, available from iTunes or the Google Play Store.
Image: “Cannabiz” host Quddus on location in Talent, Oregon, with Iz Jaramillo, owner of Vital Earth. Quddus called the episode, the first in the docuseries, his favorite.