In lieu of an editorial / column type rant from myself over the show that premiered last week on CBC – Cannabiz – I decided instead to let you talk for yourselves. Here’s what people on the street around town are saying about the show.
“From what I’ve heard around town it seems to have more of a negative impact than positive. It almost appears that Grand Forks is a real druggy town which it isn’t of course. The way the media puts it across makes it appear that way and I don’t think that does a town any good. When media comes in they do interviews and then they selectively put on TV stuff that’s more sensational. And negative is always more sensational than the positive and that’s very unfortunate.” Peter Perepolkin, Grand Forks small business owner and resident.
“I thought it did a good job in that it talked mostly about the legal end of it on the medical marijuana side, compassion clubs and that kind of thing and I think that’s really important. I kind of think it will have a positive result. I think that our laws are antiquated in a lot of ways and it demonstrates a bit of forward thinking. I’ve heard from one of the people in the film a couple of people phoned him saying that they want to move here – that’s second hand but I don’t know if it will make a difference one way or another (in attracting visitors.) I certainly don’t think it would harm us. I think generally it was a really positive thing.” Peter Matheson, Grand Forks.
“I didn’t think it was a good thing for Grand Forks, I think it puts Grand Forks in a bad light. Any way you look at it, marijuana is illegal. People are trying to change the laws, but a small town of Grand Forks isn’t going to change the law. In order to change the law it’s going to come from the federal government and they’ve made it adamantly clear that they’re not going to legalize marijuana. You can write all the documentaries you want, but at the end of the day it’s still illegal. To promote it publically on a tv show, on CBC, is absolutely ridiculous and I don’t agree with it. I feel for the people who need it for medical purposes, that’s fine, but to show people illegally doing it on a TV show in Grand Forks is completely wrong. My question is how long till more people see this show and decide Grand Forks is an easy place – showing where the US border is, how much there is and all that is wrong. I think it will end up being more problems than actually good.” Dave Rattray, Grand Forks.
“I figure it’s bad for the community. When it came up last time we were on CBC, it took us years and years to live it down. Everytime we went to another political convention everybody was joking about it. We tried to slough it off. It tagged us throughout the province as far as a political thing goes. So now it’s happening again. It’s not true that if the growing stopped our economy would collapse. We have more hard working people that are part of the community, and yes, it is a part of our economy but it isn’t critical. The town won’t die if they disappeared. If we look at economic development like Joy is saying, well then we get the rippers when they show how easy it is to rip even a medical one (grow op). It isn’t even a moral issue, it’s doing the exact same thing it did before. It will hurt us for people moving here, businesses and just our overall valley. If I’m looking for a place to invest, unless I’m investing in hydroponics, I’m probably not coming here. It does feed some of our economy but if you look at all the money they’re not spending it in town. If somebody with no means of support buys a $60,000 truck, they’re not buying it here. Nobody’s going to walk in and spend a lot of cash or they’ll attract attention. I loved the cinematography, I loved the photography, that was awesome. But just the negativity that goes along with it, and it does, as right now it’s still illegal.” Neil Krog, former mayor, Grand Forks.
“It was not accurate. I thought how they showed the street downtown with no cars, it was desolate - look at this place, it is jumping. Do you think its all pot money? It was not totally a good portrayal of Grand Forks, some parts probably. Some parts were surprising – one in ten houses has a grow op? I don’t know where they get that stat. That seems like a lot, but maybe I’m naïve. People probably already knew about the area, Brian’s been in the public eye for a long time. It might possibly discourage people with families from moving here, especially when they show all the guns. I like what Venema said that the laws are helping create the problem though. I like him, I thought he was good.” Tara Taylor, Grand Forks.
“It was very straightforward and stated the facts. Usually documentaries have their story and protagonist / antagonist but this was straight up. I was kind of worried at first, because of what it is. It hammered that is was Grand Forks quite strong so it might be a problem for us. It might be a problem for the growers too – they might be having people knocking at their door. I thought it was good though. The repercussions depend on who you are and your stand on it.” Rick MacEachern, Grand Forks.