Doco series takes you inside America's green rush
AMERICA'S weed economy is under the microscope in the documentary series Weediquette.
Airing on SBS's new Viceland channel the series explores the radical transformation for the culture of marijuana as it becomes legalised in more US states.
"The personal experience of how marijuana affects my life as someone who smokes it, and how it affects my family informs my investigation," host Krishna Andavolu tells The Guide.
"It's a show that has rigorous journalistic standards but it's also very emotional. It's about figuring out the inner workings of people's lives as they're either helped or hurt by marijuana.
"The time is really intriguing and as a documentary series we can chronicle it as it changes in front of us."
The series, named after Krishna's Vice.com column of the same name, also holds interesting insights for Australians, with medical marijuana to be legal in Queensland from March next year. The NSW government has also introduced a compassionate access scheme and is conducting a trial on the benefits for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
"The US is like a crucible of what legal weed might look like so I think a lot of people are paying attention," Krishna says.
"When you peel back the layers of regulations and bureaucracy the way it impacts people's lives is universal. It's about health, taking care of your family, keeping your family together, justice, freedom versus incarceration and it can be about making a lot of money."
Despite his mother's protests about him smoking marijuana on camera, Krishna does occasionally get stoned on the show.
"Being stoned on camera is fun but it can be daunting and even scary," he says.
"We try to make it really intentional; I'm not just getting stoned. It's either to put myself in someone else's shoes or to try the best pot in the world."
Aside from the benefits of medical cannabis and how its legalisation in the US will affect incarceration rates, Krishna also explores how a once persecuted subculture is being embraced by the mainstream - from Colorado's green rush to how medical marijuana has the potential to be the world's first gender equal industry.
"Marijuana is relatively new as far as our practices with it as a species. We're at that inflection point where it's starting to become normalised," he says.
"Now it's being embraced by mainstream culture and the culture itself is coming toward the mainstream.
"We followed a group of female entrepreneurs in the medical marijuana space who are trying to make it the first gender equal industry. Every other major healthcare industry came about at the turn of the last century when sexism in the workplace was much worse, but weed is only now coming online as a legit business so those obstacles aren't as powerful. There's an opportunity for a lot of women to get in there."
Krishna is part of a group of Vice writers who helped to create the TV channel, which is now seen in more than 40 countries.
"There's something really fun about having a channel where you and the people you know make all the shows," he says.
"It looks different and feels different, and from my experience (making a Vice TV series) the audience responds to that."
Weediquette airs Wednesdays at 8.30pm on SBS Viceland.