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Cable TV, you did it again.
CNBC came to town about a year ago to film Streets of Dreams With Marcus Lemonis, a new TV series that follows the entrepreneur across the country as he learns about famous streets in America that power business and culture. The episode about Denver, which debuted on January 26th, focuses on the local marijuana industry. And according to Lemonis, what better street to showcase Colorado cannabis than South Broadway?
“This is the Green Mile, a two-mile stretch along South Broadway in Denver that literally brings the ‘high’ to the ‘Mile High City’ and leads the way into a multi-billion dollar global cannabis industry,” Lemonis says at the beginning of The episode appears as Broadway b-roll footage. “Welcome to Denver’s Green Mile.”
Lemonis then visits the former great Denver Broncos Terrell Davis and his Denver-based CBD beverage company. He also visits Wanda James and her Simply Pure pharmacy, as well as the Love’s Oven grocery kitchen, Super Farm’s commercial marijuana grower, and My 420 Tours, a now-closed pot tourism company. He even toured Blue Moon inventor Keith Villa’s marijuana-infused brewery and shares a meal with Mayor Michael Hancock at Welton Street Cafe. And he visits other places too, all of the reputable surgeries performed by people who have either been in the pot industry for years, wearing certain celebrities, or both.
The only problem: none of the companies presented below are pharmacies on the Green Mile. In fact, none of the companies are on South Broadway. The only pharmacy he visits, Simply Pure, is on West 32nd Avenue in the Highland neighborhood.
Along the way, Lemonis talks to James about social justice and the racist hypocrisy of legalization, discusses the economics of commercial growth with Joshua Haupt, the owner of the Super Farm, and dives into the food and beverage market with Love’s Oven and Villa and stay there with Davis to learn more about the potential of CBD in the sports training industry. He also examines the confusing laws and regulations surrounding state-legal marijuana – still nationwide illegal – and CBD products, and visits marijuana banking, security, and packaging companies before meeting with Hancock to tell the mayor about his rocky past to inform with the marijuana industry.
The episode is actually one of the more accurate representations of our local trade. So why the need for the Green Mile bullshit?
Before Denver banned new pharmacies from opening within 1,000 feet of each other in 2013, 18 medical marijuana dispensaries could show up along a small stretch of South Broadway. Since then, most of them have been open for recreational sales, and all of them are still there. It is the densest marijuana retail area in town and has a big name for the premise of a show called “Streets of Dreams”. The show’s producers simply failed to profile the pharmacies along this route.
And there are definitely some pharmacies on South Broadway that deserve attention. Solace Meds is run by former Denver Broncos who Rod Bernstein and his basketball star son, Drick, are bringing back during their time here in high school. The Colorado Harvest Company was founded by a school teacher who later made millions in the pot industry, and Good Chemistry’s backstory of medical marijuana and terminal diseases in the owner’s family inspired one of Denver’s better pharmacy chains. (Yes, Cookies are also along the Green Mile, but they didn’t open on South Broadway until last November after filming took place.)
Producers had other options for the Denver segment name. After all, this city is called “Mile High City”. Our professional basketball team are the nuggets that play in an arena named after Ball Corporation, the maker of mason jars – the most popular nug jar of all time. The weed industry is so widespread here that companies have had to put up signs on their doors saying “green” or “wellness” saying to people, “THIS IS NOT A DUTY.”
This city has an arsenal of puns and other streets – East Colfax, Federal Boulevard, and the entire Montbello neighborhood – where the concept of the show could easily have taken place.
When I was in middle school, MTV visited my little hometown to film an episode of Made that documented a clumsy high school kid’s desire to become a woman’s man. MTV returned when I was in college, this time filming an episode of Catfish that followed one of my classmates who had a long-term relationship with someone who didn’t exist. Both times the shows made my city look like it had a working airport (it doesn’t), was an opulent river community (it’s one of the poorest tri-state areas in the country), and had a great nightlife. None of that was true, but our town of less than 40,000 was too small for anyone outside to notice.
Denver is a little bigger than that.
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Thomas Mitchell has been writing about everything cannabis-related for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate, and general news en route to publications like the Republic of Arizona, Inman, and Fox Sports. He is currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.