GODER: Since the return of your cannabis in 2013, how have things been going?
Matt Shotwell: Well: things are good. Things are doing a lot better. I’ve been focusing more on the television and media side of the industry. On a national level, rather than on a local level which is where I got my start, in the city of Vallejo. But since getting all my cannabis back, I’ve been doing Weed Country. They’ve given me a bigger platform; so I’ve been traveling a lot around country and internationally. I’ve been doing appearances, and just networking on this side; just going nationwide.
GODER: So tell us a little about your show on the Discovery Channel. “Weed Country.”
Matt Shotwell: So basically; Weed Country is a realementary, it’s a reality documentary about what happened to me being raided in Vallejo. I had the biggest dispensary in the North Bay, and we ran a really good business. We had about fifteen employees there; we did a million dollars a year in business, and then competition became really vocal. The community didn’t really have businesses that were thriving there, and I was the first one to open one [dispensary] downtown. It wasn’t very well received by the city; and they eventually called the DEA, and they raided us. Luckily I was filming everything two years prior to that; attempting to make a television show because I was an actor as a child and I said; “ Let’s make a reality show about Weed.” So I reached out to some producers, and we started collaborating a team together. We started filming for about two years; and when the police came the discovery channel bought the show; and unfortunately I went to jail a couple times. They froze all my assets, took all my stuff, and then we started filming the show. Its kind of crazy because my criminal case was ongoing on in the very beginning of the show, all the way through to the final episode. And the final episode reflected the disposition of the court case; which was not guilty on all charges and dropped. So it kind of follows me trying to rebuild my cannabis business, and my empire; as the show would call it. Its just all the drama that goes along with this whole thing.
GODER: Well at least you had it on record from start to finish; and “Not Guilty” is what everyone wants to hear!
Matt Shotwell: Sure is. I was really blessed. I was trippin for a minute though; because the DEA was there. The IRS was there; the board legalization; they had like five different agencies. I was the first one to get raided in the Bay Area when they started all that. I was first; then they did another one a week later. While I was in jail for a ten day period, I heard about. I was like; Okay I’m not the only one, but I was trippin. Like; what did I do wrong. I was looking at eight years, and I had a gun with me as well; so none the less they had it all straightened out. For other people who might be a little scared that all this bad stuff can happen; a lot of bad stuff can happen here in California, in the weed game.
GODER: That’s good. Now days that seems to be what we need; someone who’s going to stand up for the majority; because now there are a lot of people who are passive. But your story is amazing. So with all the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana; why do you think it remains illegal on the federal level?
Matt Shotwell: Well in my opinion; because the people that influence the laws; that need to be changed, aren’t financially benefitting from it being legal yet. So until that’s figured out, and the big money players that influence politicians, find their way to get there hands in the pie, it’s going to stay illegal. But they’re finding ways, and slowly but surely people that are now pro marijuana are influencing politicians. So in my opinion; two people can play that game. So if entrepreneurs are making millions of dollars they can buy off politicians too. Our generation of all these smokers now, that are benefiting from medicinal marijuana which also includes the kids you know. It helps with epilepsy so that seems to be what is causing all these states to swallow the cannabis pill. It seems to be getting into all of the states that way; and then five or ten years later recreational use will be okay. So it just takes time to win these people over. It just takes money; and time; and science for this to happen.
GODER: You mentioned the kids; do you believe in the notion that Marijuana is a gateway drug? Do you think it holds any truth?
Matt Shotwell: I don’t really think so. I feel as though you can make that argument with anything. I mean sugar is a gateway drug to being fat! so; you know?
GODER: Okay okay; I’ll give you that! So; growing marijuana seems to have a complexity to it. Like; there’s such a science to it. Mixing different strands will help relieve different physical, or psychological struggles. Would you say that medical marijuana is more efficient in terms of healing; compared to Narcotics or Opiates, which people can become dependent on and actually experience and overdose.
Matt Shotwell: I would say that on the addiction side; Marijuana is less risky. As far as modern medicine and healing, there’s room for them both to work together. There’s really progressive doctors out there. We can’t ignore modern science that has cured things like polio. Modern science has cures for things that society needs to move forward. You can’t have all chemo no cannabis or all cannabis no chemo. You can use them together, and that is the best way. Collaboration and cooperation with all these different medicines; and God given talents that we have, and technology.
GODER: Yeah; i agree. We can learn to work them together; so that someday in the future; mankind can learn to work with the God given gifts of this Earth; and stand up against the one percent trying to control the masses; so that their system doesn’t fall. What statement would you issue to the people now; and the people of the future about what it is exactly that you’re fighting for?
Matt Shotwell: I think on the big back row picture its all about freedom. Its freedom, and jobs that are the biggest motivators for me. Its all about the jobs! You have an economy out here that needs to be embraced medicinally. Thats what a lot of people are focusing on to move forward. Its not just game; they’re focusing on the money part of it. Everybody’s like: “they shouldn’t be looking at it that way.” I counter that by saying money is an important part of the economy. I don’t see anybody else going to work for free; so i dont see whats wrong with making money in the marijuana business. Even if a lot of people hate on me, calling me a profetier; when they don’t know my background. I made fourteen thousand a month in my previous job, and I left that job because my dad and my sister both had cancer. I saw the opportunity in marijuana but I also saw the difficult side. Nobody works for free in this country, and if you do you’re a dumbass; and if you work for free, then cool, come work for me and I’ll pay you nothing.
GODER: So with that being said; one up for freedom! I’m all for that. This is Shinoa with GoderMag, talking with Matt Shotwell of the Discovery Channel. Check out in his Realementary called Weed Country; he’s doing big things.