The journalists at CBS This Morning on Friday appeared excited over the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, hyping the "cannabis capitalism" in the state and a new "pot tour" business that has sprouted up. Showing little skepticism, reporter Barry Petersen offered a light-hearted take: "Appropriately enough, the pot tour ends at a sub shop where Acapulco gold is a sandwich and they're ready to help with those marijuana munchies." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Petersen narrated, "Call it cannabis capitalism, the latest leaf to sprout from legalized marijuana. Michael Eymer's pot tours costs $240 bucks a person." The journalist offered a promotional look at the new industry: "Eymer has bookings and belief that he's in on one of Colorado's new growth industries. If I want to take the tour, how long am I going to have to wait to get aboard?"
It wasn't until the very end of the segment that Petersen featured a brief clip of a representative from Smart Colorado, a group concerned about the impact legalization will have on Colorado's children.
The CBS report builds on one by ABC's World News. On January 1, Clayton Sandell produced a positive look at a new Colorado pot shop, hyping that customers "lined up at dawn." He included a man raving, "This is a historical event."
When states pass new pro-Second Amendment laws, journalists generally react with skepticism and question the legislation's impact. With pot, the reporters at ABC and CBS mostly glossed over the potential downside (such as a wider availability for young people to obtain the drug).
Perhaps the networks could take it a little more seriously than joking about the "marijuana munchies."
A transcript of the January 24 segment, which aired at 7:33am ET, is below:
CBS Graphic: Cannabis Capitalism: Entrepreneurs Create Pot Tours in Colorado
CLARISSA WARD: For the first time a CBS News poll find that the majority of Americans want to legalize marijuana. Fifty one percent of people in our newest poll say that using marijuana should not be a crime. Two years ago, voters in Colorado and Washington State decided to legalize recreational pot use. Under the new laws, tourism is booming in Colorado and as Barry Petersen reports, a new type of entrepreneur is profiting from it.
BARRY PETERSEN: Call it cannabis capitalism, the latest leaf to sprout from legalized marijuana. Michael Eymer's pot tours costs $240 bucks a person. This group was here to show CBS News how it will work when real tourists start this weekend.
MICHAEL EYMER (Colorado Cannabis Tours Founder): Basically what we're trying to do is show people the cannabis lifestyle.
PETERSEN: Eymer has bookings and belief that he's in on one of Colorado's new growth industries. If I want to take the tour, how long am I going to have to wait to get aboard?
EYMER: You know what? I have got 30 limos at my disposal. So, if you want to go on a tour this Saturday–
PETERSEN: 30 limos?
PETERSEN: So you're good to go?
EYMER: We're good to go. [Giving a tour] So, this is a ten kilowatt system.
PETERSEN: Pot tourists will see how marijuana is grown, visit a paraphernalia shop, compete with a demonstration by a glass blower and have numerous chances to buy recreational marijuana. And the tourists are coming. At Medicine Man, which sells me medicinal and recreational pot, Andrew checks IDs. Are you getting a lot of people from out of state.
ANDREW: We're getting a huge amount of people from out of state. I would estimate about 40 percent of the IDs I check.
PETERSEN: Forty percent?
ANDREW: Forty percent.
PETERSEN: Mostly Texas, which is exactly where Heather McNeely came from, here for a ski vacation that started with a stop for some pot.
HEATHER MCNEELY: This is my first time so I thought I might as well try it legally.
MICHAEL FEELEY (Smart Colorado lobbyist): I think we've taken a little bit of a black eye. I think the whole world is watching how we take the first steps on the first massive commercialization and development of an industry.
PETERSEN: Michael Feeley is part of a group called Smart Colorado, concerned that legalizing marijuana and selling tours to pot shots will tourism by scaring people away.
FEELEY: I don't think people who are serious about enjoying themselves, bringing their family, bringing their businesses here, are going to be brought– are going to come to Colorado because they can get a ride to a pot store.
PETERSEN: Appropriately enough, the pot tour ends at a sub shop where Acapulco gold is a sandwich and they're ready to help with those marijuana munchies. For CBS This Morning, Barry Petersen, Denver.