Marijuana Inc.

January 23, 2009

Trish Regan interviewing Eric Sligh

Trish Regan interviewing Eric Sligh

The documentary is finally out and I have to say I thought it was pretty good.  My expectations were not too high to begin with.  About midway through the filming, Trish Regan and the producer asked if it would be o.k. to shoot  a ten second promo in the gardenI was giving a tour of.  “Sure, why not” I replied thinking it was just another part of this t.v. thing I had gotten myself into.  By the time the producer and the crew had figured out where they wanted to shoot the promo, it was obvious that the crew needed an extra pair of hands to hold some lighting.  I quickly volunteered for the job.  Next thing I know I’m holding a large light about 6 inches away from her face  as she says the following:  “gangs, guns, and plenty of money…”  At that point I just about fell down.  Gangs???  come on…  Everything that I said in our interviews alluded to the idea that this area was not crawling with gangsters carrying weapons; that a huge portion of marijuana business was done with proffesionalism in a relatively peaceful environment.  Oh well, thats hollywood I guess.

I had a chance to sit down with Bruce Perlowin during the filming of the documentary and discuss some of his thoughts on the current legal/political environment.  The experience was both surreal and insightful.  It is rare that you can sit down with someone and get the facts about their marijuana smuggling enterprise.  i am hoping to do an interview with Bruce for the 4th issue of Grow.

Overall I thought that Johnathan Dann, the producer did a great job of telling the entire story, giving credit to both sides of the marijuana debate.


27 Responses to “Marijuana Inc.”

  1. moose hansen said

    Eric, please delete my first email, hadn’t had my first cup of Java

    Hi Eric,
    I saw the documentary last night after a few weeks of waiting and all day 1/22/09 of promo 15second sound bites leading up to last night.
    I was somewhat taken back by the neg coverage and the gang reference which gave it a dark image of what the life world of growing.
    One of your fellow grower’s is one of my friends from high school back in Soquel 1975, and from what I hear life is 90% safe now, much safer than it was back 25yrs ago.
    In every trade there is or can be a dark side.
    And if people of California remember we the people have voted and passed the right to grow Marijuana.
    Maybe now with a new President we can get the federal right to grow.
    I am a forced to retire General Contractor due to the housing slump and years of illegal hiring, and would love to move up to Mendocino County where I’m buying 7.5 acres along the coast and grow indoor underground grow room.
    Keep up the fight, let us all know if we can do anything to help.

    Moose Hansen

  2. jason said

    I watched this last nite and was sadly disappointed. The tone was sensationalistic and the same tired old arguments were trotted out: gangs are in control of the biz, weed is deadly poison, etc etc blah blah. Various DEA dorks gave their ridiculous opinions. The host had a “tut-tut, shame-shame” tone of voice throughout. And talk about discredited old arguments…John Walters of the ONDCP (now happily unemployed) was given time to spew his shpiel once more. What a sad joke. No wonder so many people have the wrong ideas about this biz….

  3. S. Lydgate said

    Aloha Eric,

    Congratulations on a positive National interview, I wish you much success. I think you did a great job.

    I am very disappointed in the show. Prohibition creates the issues mentioned. That is the point they never show. The problems would be significantly reduced and it would bring billions of dollars of taxes and tourism to our economy in crisis. John Waters calls a plant “poison”, yet not a single human in history has died from it. The very fact that Marinol is Schedule 3 and cannabis is Schedule 1 shows the lack of basic REASON and LAW of prohibition. Also, I wish they had done their research, since cannabis is NOT legal in Amsterdam.

    Thanks for everything

  4. Hey Eric, would you be interested in doing a radio interview to talk about your TV experience and new issue coming out?

  5. 420bay said

    Watched the show last night and man was it nice to see those babies in HD. No I’m not talking about the host. Thanks for reppin’ the scene. Too bad CNBC had to throw in all of the cop,gang,violence stuff.

  6. Jerry said

    WOW…Thanks for taking me (the viewer) on this “inside look” into your lifestyle. Looks and sounds like you have a great thing going. Continued success in your biz….ONLY IN AMERICA. Any way of getting an issue to NJ….I’ll send you postage and some loot.

    Thanks again and Good Luck

  7. sohumborn said

    You were great! I ignored the sensational spin, the media always does that when they talk about weed.

  8. Paul said

    My problem with this program is that it hardly delved into the real reasons ‘why’ marijuana is illegal.

    I never heard anything mentioned about how:
    Cops get billions a year(They mentioned it, but draw no conclusions about what it means to have a multi billion dollar prohibition budget->perhaps reason #1 prohibition won’t change)

    These billions pay for salaries of many thousands, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers who would LOSE THEIR JOBS if we saw the end of prohibition.

    These billions pay for many deals to companies to provide the cops with firearms, bullet proof vests, helicopters, helmets, ammunition etc

    This doc never talks about the economic implications of marijuana if it were legalized for it’s competitors, competitors like cigarette companies and folks who sell alcohol, and big pharma companies(this is really where you could write a novel about the large scale corrupt nature of prohibition).

    This doc never truly debates why marijuana is not legal, and alcohol is. I never even heard ‘why’ asked or explained.

    This doc never mentioned how marijuana is safer than alcohol.

    This doc never talks about who benefits from the billions spent to put away marijuana violators. The point of this is that prisons are often privately owned and operated, so the prisons need prohibition to keep their cells full, and especially get paid per prisoner to boost their bottom line. It fascinates me that they don’t even consider the notion that these privately owned prisons may likely lobby in favor of prohibition. ANY large industry getting paid for something regarding prohibition is going to have a conflict of interest.

    Prisons should not be privately owned. It creates a situation where the company needs policies that are bad for society.

    There was never any mention about how afraid and cowardly politicians are for not bringing this topic up for an honest and open debate. WHY shouldn’t there be a debate about it? The cowardice spans from the lowest government officials all the way up to the President himself, with the exception of a courageous few.

    Another thing never mentioned is the INHUMANITY involved in jailing and ruining the lives of marijuana growers, distributors. Growers and distributors are often cast as criminal, regardless of how virtuous the person may really be. Once convicted, these are people treated as subhuman slaves/criminals with zero rights. If every life is precious, then marijuana prohibition savagely ruins any notion that the enforcer/judge/prosecutor have genuine compassion as human beings. They are ignorant savage bigots(not for everything, but certainly regarding this demonized topic). The bigotry involved in marijuana prohibition is really no less serious than things like racism, sexism, sexual discrimination etc.

    Pot growers and smokers are some of the most demonized people on the planet relative to the NON serious thing they are really doing.->It’s non serious in reality, but horrifically serious in terms of the policy’s implications. People fear weed not because of weed, but because of terrifying policy surrounding it. I fear the government SO MUCH MORE than anything having to do with marijuana whatsoever. I’d rather be ass raped than get caught up in a cold government marijuana battle against my life.

    The gov either doesn’t understand or acknowledge the connection between prohibition as a policy, and the violence that really manifests as a result of it. They don’t take ANY responsibility for the situations or violence that occurs as a result of prohibition.

    They basically think, ‘who cares? I’m doing my job.’ Doing their job should break their hearts. They should lose sleep over doing horrific facist things, but they don’t.

    What kind of human being breaks down someone’s door for marijuana and feels good about it?

    So my big problem with this program is it basically exhibited the contrition of the media to keep this debate shamelessly dumbed down for the masses. They could have had a devil’s advocate approach and asked some of these questions.

    I want to mention how in the program the police say how they went out to the forest and wound up shooting and killing a grower. My point is that they killed the grower, the grower didn’t kill them. Everything I saw that was dangerous was a ‘result’ of prohibition, and especially the weaponry and attitude possessed by police.

    WAH WAH WAH! Peope smoke marijuana! WAH!

    These facist jerks are so brainwashed and unamerican. They don’t get it, and likely when someone is so far gone in their ideology, they won’t ever come around.

    For legalization, we need a massive paradigm shift. The propaganda is so shit thick that I do not have a clue what could change the momentum in a new direction. I’m worried that because the mainstream media doesn’t portray an honest take on the story, that it will reenforce the same institutionalized madness for many more decades to come.

    Last night I said to my wife how this doc essentially has the opposite effect that marijuana radio does. Which is that it is mostly demonizing, and not nearly as close to the multiple truths of the matter as our program is, as High TImes is, as Cannabis Culture is, or pretty much any media entity that has a vested interest in the topic.

    Sadly, most people are still vastly ignorant about this topic.

    LISTEN, some cop said that basically the growers are ‘winning’ the war. I tend to disagree. Why? Essentially because cops get to ravage and ruin people with no real consequences. They break into homes, bust people up, terrify the shit out of them, and go home at the end of the day. However, the grower still goes to prison when they capture him. I hardly think that so many people who wind up in jail for this could be seen as the ‘winners’ in this battle. On the contrary, this horrible documentary shows me how the media is fully on board with the lies. The show was produced to make a quick buck on marijuana porn. It was not made to really enlighten people about the debate. The producer is not someone who cares about the topic beyond her own career goals.

    WINNING on our end has to do with POLICY, and NOT successfully growing a crop during prohibition. As far as I can tell, policy is still jailing good people. Again, don’t let them fool you. We’re NOT winning the drug war because marijuana is abundant. We’re losing it because policy is still totally against us.

    When and where did this documentary ever question whether prohibition as a policy is or might be misguided? I don’t think it did. I more think that it cast the whole movement in a negative light, perfect contrition for the cowards who refuse to let weed/hemp be a part of society and legitimate economy.

    SHAME ON NBC and that PRODUCER who made this weak documentary. I expect a higher standard for impartiality in journalism, and a deeper acknowledgement of elements that comprise the complex reality of prohibition.

    I detest perhaps more than anything, human hypocrisy. The real evil stemming from marijuana is not marijuana, but prohibition(unamerican, unfree and NOT a truly free economic market, tyrannical, unmerciful, cold, excessive).

  9. Here is a great idea – lets all be like Johnny Apple seed – and “Seed America” everywhere, in parks, on the lawn and in flower beds of the court houses across the land – from California to the New York sky way, from the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters – this land was meant for marijuana! Let “Seed America” be a battle cry for the new freedom we all want to see. This is protest against archaic laws and civil disobediance (an American tradition) at it’s finest – Seed America from sea to shining sea! Just cut and paste this announcement and put it up on every marijuana blog, every You Tube video on marijuana and get everyone to spread the word. Let’s help with the greening of America – plant your extra marijuana seeds everywhere! I thought Eric did an awesome job in the interview – way to go Eric!

    • Silliness said

      This idea has been around for years, I had friends doing that over 20 years ago and they still are. They have been promoting that idea for freaking ever.

  10. Terry said

    I like the Johnny Appleseed idea.
    In fact, if you drive alone highway 80 from Nebraska all the way through Indiana, and you look along the fence lines, you will seed weed growing. In the flall after the leaves drop, you will see only buds. I picked one once that was about a foot long and as big around as a baking potato.
    Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, I named it:
    “Ohio No High”.
    Couldn’t get a buzz.

  11. Steve said

    I thought that you did a great job. I just hope that you are not crucified for speaking out. But i found myself yelling at my television like a fool most of that hour or just shaking my head saying you’ve got to be kidding me. Where i live we have a major problem with Meth and Heroin. But the local Sheriff is focused on busting potheads.Why? I believe Growers and dealers are easy targets compared to the REAL gangs that control the hard drugs around here, so they trumpet a couple of pot busts and say “here look all of you mostly older,conservative voters we take a hard line on drugs.” Meanwhile my peaceful pothead friends are going to prison and an entire generation of people i know and went to school with are dying or being lost forever to hard drugs. Its infuriating. Coupled with the fact (as Paul pointed out) that in the doc they seemed oblivious to the fact that most if not all of the problems they complained about were a direct result of Marijuana prohibition. Did we learn nothing as a people from alcohol prohibition?

  12. kat said

    I first like to say you did a great job with the interview even though the host seemed biased on the issue, but I really like how that didnt bother you and just kept on giving the facts.
    Secondly, as a chem student we know that smoking cigarettes is likely to give you cancer and to help that cancer you could get medical marijuana. i just love the irony.
    Another point, is the people that grow, such as yourself are healthy, hardworking, and quite successful. Not like heroin or meth addicts who live in the streets or in their parents basement.
    Another thing is when they were talking about the violence concerning marijuana, i want to say its the governments fault for that. IF the government allowed it, farmers could sell their harvest to someone ligit who then could distribute it, so the rest of us dont have to go the “ghetto” (for most of us who live in big cities on the east coast)to get our product. it would be like 711 buying cigarettes.
    All in all good work and keep it up>ur fan club is growing haha
    take care

  13. I saw this news article about CNBC’s Marijuana, Inc. and thought it was insightful… I liked the end of this short article the best check it out.

    CNBC’s Marijuana, Inc:
    An Odd Mix of Weed Porn and Anti-Drug Propaganda

    By Scott Morgan

    They might as well have displayed a link to across the screen for an hour. CNBC’s Marijuana, Inc. couldn’t have been more sensationalist if John Walters wrote the screenplay and Bill O’Reilly did the interviews. I’m serious, it was that bad.

    Of course, it’s impossible to know how the casual observer may interpret a propaganda trainwreck such as this, but for me it crossed the threshold of absurdity to the point of almost becoming useful. If one factual concept emerged unscathed from this, it is that there is simply nothing you can do to stop the marijuana economy. Marijuana, Inc. painted California as a veritable narco-state, thrown into anarchy by liberal values and unscrupulous profiteers. If there’s a lesson in there other than the fact that our marijuana laws are a disaster, I must have missed it.

    The great irony of this is that, whether they like it or not, CNBC is selling their product to the same exact market. Who do they think watches this stuff? Just turn off the sound and you’ve got sixty minutes of first-rate pot porno to accompany the musical selection of your choice. They used blatant pot porn to promote it, so they know exactly what they’re doing.

    Something is seriously out of balance when CNBC puts out an obnoxious propaganda program, while simultaneously hosting an online poll that favors decriminalization at 97%. They even felt compelled to put this disclaimer on their comment section:

    **As of this posting, CNBC has only received comments favoring decriminalization of marijuana.
    Marijuana sells in the media for the same exact reason it sells in the street. The only difference is the media still feels the need to cut their marijuana merchandise with some nasty shit. If the mainstream media wants to sell us pot, that’s fine. But give it to us straight.

  14. melissa (pacheco) mattiuzzo said

    You couldn’t tell me THIS when I saw you? Ha! Oh well. It was nice to see a face from the past. Take care. Melissa (Pacheco) Mattiuzzo

  15. Shawn Jason said

    Hello Mr. Sligh I am a Law Student at Howard University, yesterday (03/13/2009) I saw your special on Dateline. This was in perfect timing due to the fact that I am currently having a heated class debate on Marijuana in my American Politics class, and my side is losing the battle but I refuse to lose the war. I have been scrambling my brain trying to figure out how to beat my opponents. My opposing side argues marijuana causes violence, teen pregnancy, loss of brain cells, and it should be illegal. To validate their arguments, they have interviewed politicians, law enforcement officers, and drug rehab specialist. On the other hand to validate my argument I have interviewed NO ONE.. I have not found anyone who has the same viewpoint as I about the pros of marijuana. Then I saw your special on DATELINE and almost choked on my hot pocket, I could not believe it, it was like a sign from GOD. Mr. Sligh I know you are a very busy man, but I know an interview from you would be key to my victory, I am a very competitive individual by nature and I go above and beyond to win. I would really SHOCK the opposing side if I had someone that was CREDIBLE to interview on this “TOUCHY” subject. PLEASE consider my invitation; I could be on the first flight out of D.C for that interview Mr. Sligh. This interview means so much to me honestly; I am very adamant on my stance on marijuana. The victory of winning would be great but just being able to meet you in person would be an even greater victory. You are educated and dedicated when it comes to the topic and I know with your help or even just a few words I can make the difference and prove to my surroundings on the truths of marijuana.

  16. Devin.S said

    hey man, i saw your documentary and it was awsome.. i loved the garden you had, very impressive… how many years expeirience do you have? probally a lot. But any way your a champ man peace

  17. Mike said

    Hey Eric, would you be interested in doing a radio interview to talk about your TV experience and new issue coming out?

  18. Gigi said

    Hey Eric!
    You did a great job on CNBC…very articulate. What a random way to find out what an old friend has been up to! Ha Ha. I’d love to catch up. Comment Ca va?

  19. Overgrow said

    How does the Emerald Triangle community of growers feel about other growers moving to the area to start their own grow ops? I personally would consider moving to your great community! Keep up the great work.

  20. Dave said

    Eric, Let those who do not believe leave the county. Those who choose to steal and cause negative views on pot are just out for themselves anyways. It wasn’t that they were under the influence to make that choice. Keep fighting for those of us who cannot. I am from NY and wish that I could have such an honor to do what you are doing. Im not greedy, I work hard but getting the option to grow up to 6 plants without hassle is a great idea. I wish the uptight New Yorkers would allow this as it would keep the fight on drugs to those who are doing hard drugs such as coke, lsd and others. I will continue to believe and hope that this option will grow on us in the future. If there is anything that I can do for an article from the NY side of things for GROW please reach out to me as I would definitely be a good contact for the east coast pov. Best to you and yours and hopefully someone will allow us to vote for our rights here in NY.

  21. Jerry 2 said

    Though the documentary sucked it really opened my eyes about the Marijuana business. I find it ironic that another one of Mendocino County’s cash crops, grapes, produces a far more dangerous substance than marijuana in wine. I’d like to see a ratio of DUI to possesion of pot arrests in Mendocino county. But I hope it is legalized some day so I can become a tourist of Mendocino county. Can you imagine that. Beautiful grape crops and Wineries to see and then just down the road, beautiful marijuana crops and coffee shops. Awesome.

  22. Sean D said

    Hello Eric,
    Great job on the TV special. Thanks for doing that and telling everyone how it really is. You did a great job down playing it and not making it look like it is not normal. I am actually more interested in what your growing in. I love the FAT PLANTS! What big Fatties, what strain do you grow that gets that big and fat. I have grown some huge plants before but never that wide. Maybe close to that but just not that big. Did you pinch every single time it split . What are using for a medium? How about this do you have a place online where you discuss your techniques? Again thanks alot from all of us.

  23. Semene said

    Hi Eric! I saw your interview on cmbc & I must say you gained much intrest from me & a few friends of mine. I curently live in the southeast, but have friends in San Fran. I’m in the process of planning a trip & was wondering if while I’m there I could visit your county & pay you to teach me more?!$$?
    I believe this may be my new calling & was hoping you could help me get started. (do you have a facebook)?

  24. Semene said

    Any resources you have that can lead me in the right direction would be very helpful as well, I’m sure your very busy!
    Thanks Eric,

  25. Branko Badrljica said


    I’ve just got this throught torrent and I think it’s HILLARIOUS.

    I’d say you all missed main points:

    – CNBC had at least officially to show “both sides” and it’s cool to see how much efforts it took them in order to show ANYTHING on oher side.

    – Main bursts of mad laughter have escaped me any time they were showing police efforts, but every now and then it became obvious that cops are careful not to try too hard.

    – DEA – police justifications for prohibiton are idiotic and TV crew took effort to show them in “full glory”

    BTW: I’m not a pot connosieur- all I know about it is a little theory and experiences from smoking a few joints, but it seems to me that you have the ecostistem, where cops are useful part of it.

    They seem to put just right amount of pressure on illegal producers to maintain good-high price of the product…

    Best regards from Slovenia…

  26. Hey Eric,

    I’m a journalist working on a story of my own. Can you give me a call?

    415 659 2066.


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