By Tera Gordon
Hosting a TV talk show about cannabis is a dream come true—but you don’t have to tell the Denver-based host of Marijuana Straight Talk, Becca Williams, that.
“Marijuana has been my emotional medicine,” says Becca Williams as she relaxes in her downtown Denver studio. A self described “war zone” childhood left Williams with trauma and, like many, she finally turned to cannabis for relief—after years of lies and propaganda. “This remarkable plant medicine calmed me. It made me more present.” And now, Williams has turned that healing passion into a career as host of Denver’s Marijuana Straight Talk TV show. Her mission: to help restore a wounded culture and re-frame the entire conversation with cannabis at the epicenter. Straight Talk, “a cocktail of humor, culture, commentary and interviews,” can be found on the Free Speech TV Network and on Youtube. “I have to give props to Free Speech TV’s Alex Maness,” she says with a wide smile. “At the very beginning Alex suggested we try something new—a mashup of the classic TV show approach at the anchor desk with Youtube-inspired videos. My production assistant, Kelsey, and I shoot a lot of those out of my house. So when you watch the show you’ll see it’s this unique medley of production values. The approach has freed us from a really tight anal production schedule.” And how do they pick their guests? With this simple question: Will this person offer a perspective and understanding of how cannabis fits, or can fit, into our lives? And it’s been an interesting ride so far, whether it’s looking at the incredible popularity of the Youtube video, “Grandmas Smoking Weed for the First Time,” or Jamaican-born Highah Seekah singing his kick-ass, “Free Up the Hemp” tune or even Williams’s friend, Ingrid, who came on to talk about how she realized she had a dependence on cannabis and what she did to shake it and stay friends with the plant. “I really love coming to work everyday and being able to tell the truth.” she notes. “I spent a lot of years in mainstream TV and got really sick of doing the “on the one hand, blah, blah, blah and on the other hand, blah, blah, blah type of coverage. Here, we’re reframing the conversation so that we can discuss the best ways to move forward in our culture with this remarkable plant.”
BECCA’S JOURNEY TO MARIJUANA STRAIGHT TALK TV
*Born in Sioux City, Iowa. Becca grew up in an angry, abusive and alcoholic family and that carried over into adulthood. Then she found “this remarkable plant medicine that calmed me.” It made her more present and let her look at her self-limiting beliefs about fears, anxiety, sadness.
*Reads the book The Benefits of marijuana by Joan Bello. “I’ll never forget her passage”: ‘Long-term marijuana use leads to an altered state of consciousness that allows us to relax and be aware at the same time.’ “I’ve been in self-exploration around this aspect of the plant for a long time.”
*Becomes a health editor in Chicago for a group of magazines (Dragonfly Media).
*Becomes a registered nutritionist and dietitian. At her practice, she keeps hearing how her patients were using marijuana (illegally) for managing their pain. “I’ve been a student of this plant ever since.”
*Works for National Public Radio at Chicago’s NPR affiliate WBEZ-FM. “But I was still itchy because the local news—even NPR type, had me producing and reporting on death and destruction. Just not my thing anymore.”
*Moves to Denver and begins hosting Marijuana Straight Talk for Free Speech TV.
BEACCA’S FAVORITE JOURNALIST & WRITERS
“I relish Thom Hartman’s work. He’s multidisciplinary, part historian, part psychologist, part political pundit, all wrapped up in his talk show. He’s also a huge advocate for full cannabis legalization. I like Rachel Maddow, she’s playful but uncompromising. I’m also a big fan of author Martin Lee (Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana, Acid Dreams) who continues to do remarkable work in the cannabis arena (check out ProjectCBD.org) and author Joan Bello (The Benefits of Marijuana, The Yoga of Marijuana) who’s one of the few cannabis writers discussing how cannabis facilitates deep meditative states that can support heightened awareness in our daily lives. I love her work.”
Free Speech TV runs on Dish (channel 9415) and DirecTV (channel 348).
MJ Straight Talk is also on Youtube.