June 6, 2010

Booming Times for Online Marijuana Media Outlets

June 6, 2010

I have been using the term ‘marijuana media’ a lot lately. I don’t know if anyone officially came up with the term or if it just evolved in my brain and ended up on theweedblog; who knows. Either way, I hope the term gets traction on the web, and the ‘real’ media recognizes that marijuana media is a growing force. It is always painful to read a marijuana related article by a major media outlet. First of all, they LOVE to report busts, and almost ALWAYS take a biased stance. In the rare event of an investigative report, or unique story idea, the author of the article is quick to show their ignorance on the topic of marijuana.

An example would be the recent story in Oregon where investigative reporter Anna Song tried to show ‘how easy it is to get a medical marijuana card.’ I will let you find her version of the story on Google; for one of the best articles I have ever read, click this link. It is a rebuttal by Russ Belville of Oregon NORML, directed toward Anna “the propaganda spreader” Song. Another great example is the MSNBC episode ‘Marijuana Inc.’ by reporter Trish Regan. I watched that episode wanting to know more about the marijuana industry, but all I got was a ‘look through the eyes of a total marijuana rookie.’ Who wants to read an article, or watch an episode, about a topic where the author has NO CLUE what they are talking about?

That’s how it is with big media; the reporters and writers went to some Ivy League school on the east coast, maybe ‘hit a doobie once’ but didn’t inhale, and since have grinded their way through life reporting on violently charged issues. These same reporters are sitting at their desk one day and say to themselves, ‘Hey, that medical marijuana stuff is a big topic, right? I should do a story on that. Where should I start?’ So they call their loadie friend or relative and ask them to introduce them to their dealer. Or even worse, fly to the West Coast and ask any person on the street that is willing to yap their mouth if they are willing to talk on camera.

Here’s a tip big media — NO ONE WORTHWHILE IN THE MARIJUANA GAME WILL TALK TO YOU, LET ALONE LET YOU FILM THEIR OPERATION, IF THEY ARE A TRUE VETERAN; period. I know a lot of growers in Oregon, both medical and non-medical, and since they are old school, they don’t let ANYONE come to their grow spot; never. They grow ‘em big and frosty, and are like paranoid hermits. But with that being said, they pump out massive pounds of superb nugs due to their specialized skill set and lifestyle. The only people that I have seen on major media outlets, and that I give credibility to, are Richard Lee and Marc Emery. All the others are posers, liars, or rookies. Don’t get that statement confused with celebrities; I see Tommy Chong on major media all the time, but he is an actor, not a marijuana activist/grower/etc. I’m talking about people that eat, breath, live, and die with marijuana; their whole lives revolve around it.

In such an ‘anti-marijuana’ media environment, marijuana consumers used to have nowhere to turn to. That all changed with the launch of High Times in 1974. High Times was the first marijuana media outlet (duh). Don’t get me wrong, I have seen marijuana club newsletters from the ‘State of Jefferson’ as old as the 1950’s (Southern Oregon), but that is not quite what I’m talking about. High Times was different because it was the first marijuana media outlet with national reach. Another major step for marijuana media was the launch of Cannabis Culture in 1994. However, both of those outlets operated in a different era — the print era.

We live in a completely different time now — the digital era. As I’m writing this article, I’m sitting in my crappy house in Eugene, Oregon, taking huge bong hits and watching CSPAN between typing sessions. Back in the Day, in order to reach a national (or international as is the case with the net) audience, I would have had to fork out enormous amounts of cash for printing supplies, negotiate with print circulators and media outlets, and after years of pain and anguish, MIGHT have pumped out a few magazines. Instead, I can think of a blog article and have it up by lunch time the same day, and share it across the entire globe!

The digital age also benefits marijuana media outlets by reducing competition. There was a time when Cannabis Culture and High Times duked it out for control of the marijuana media market. Think about it; when you had to pay for a subscription, chances are you only bought one and had to check out the other one at a friend’s house. Now, a marijuana consumer can click on 50 marijuana media outlets in 5 minutes for free. As a marijuana consumer myself, that’s a beautiful thing!

A question I often get is ‘what marijuana media outlets do you check out?’ I don’t know if readers realize this, but I am checking out marijuana media ALL DAY EVERYDAY! I have come across hundreds, if not thousands, of outlets on the internet since me and Ninjasmoker started TWB. Here is a list of some of my favorites, and I imagine I will update this article as time goes on. So many quality sites are popping up every day, and I certainly want to give them credit too:

The Pothead Pundit
This is one of my favorite sites for sure. I check this site about 5 times a day just to see what new links and videos are up. If there is a marijuana story out there that is solid, the pothead pundit is sure to find it!

Weed Wars – Sacramento Bee
Peter Hecht is the author of the blog, and he reports on California marijuana issues. Let’s face it, California is at the forefront of the industry, and that’s what makes ‘Weed Wars’ so interesting.

Toke of the Town – Village Voice Media
The author of this blog is Steve Elliot, and it covers just about everything. Some of the stories are kind of random, but regardless of the article idea, the stories are always rock solid and I thoroughly enjoy reading every one of them.

This marijuana media outlet is in print and on the web. If you are lucky enough to be in their market area (southern California), you should really pick one up. I was lucky enough to be referred to the website when I was working on an article. The recipes, Q & A’s, etc, are all EXTREMELY STELLAR, and they even have a killer feature that allows you to read a ‘virtual edition’ of their current issue.

Cannabis Culture
A couple of years ago, Marc Emery decided to take the former magazine to an all-online format. As a result, they have continued to lead the way when it comes to marijuana media. A lot of their coverage is Canada based, which might not interest some US readers, but they cover the US too, and there is NO BETTER source for BC and/or Marc Emery related issues. People in the US often forget that BC is pumping out bangin’ nugs on a daily basis ever since ‘Operation Frozen Timber’ happened.

I also check out Marijuana Policy Project, Americans for Safe Access, NORML, LEAP, and SAFER, but not as often. They are more lobbying/political based, and not necessarily in the ‘marijuana media’ category (in my opinion). As a result, they don’t update their blogs quite as often. You might notice that I left High Times off the list. I check High Times’ site about once a week to see what’s new, and to be perfectly honest, there’s not much there.

Sure, there are lots of pictures, and they still have their print magazine, but print media is dying (if not dead already). High Times does not seem to be making the transition to the online/digital age as smoothly as other outlets (CC for instance). Chances are, if you see a story on High Times’ site, it was already on the other sites I previously mentioned at least a few days earlier, if not weeks. It really is a shame too; they are still the number one household name when it comes to marijuana media. They just opened a West Coast office (about time!) this last year, so hopefully things will pick up on their site. In the meantime, puff tough and check out the sites I mentioned in this article.

“The marijuana revolution will not be televised…it will be blogged, tweeted, shared on FB walls, etc.”

– Johnny Green


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