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Dispensary Owner In ‘Weed Country’ On Discovery Channel All Too Common


weed country discovery channelThe first episode of ‘Weed Country’ on the Discovery Channel was mostly a disappointment. There were basically four characters – a grower and his wife who go on ‘drug runs’ as the show puts it, the Jackson County Sheriff from Oregon (the WORST representation of anything that ‘happens’ in Oregon), one compassionate medical marijuana patient/grower who tries to actually help people (which is why I said ‘mostly a disappointment earlier because he was cool), and a disgraced medical marijuana dispensary owner from Vallejo named Matt Shotwell.

I don’t know Matt Shotwell, and I tried as hard as I could to withhold judgement against him, but by the end of the show I was pretty upset with the way he went about things. ‘Weed Country’ clips and narrations explained that he was the first medical marijuana dispensary owner in Vallejo, California, and that at the pinnacle of his operation he was the most popular medical marijuana dispensary in the area. I got the impression that he had been operating for quite sometime, and he talked quite a bit about how much money he was making during that time.

What I never, ever heard Matt Shotwell discuss was the fact that he was providing safe access to medicine that suffering patients desperately needed. Instead Matt Shotwell went on and on about how much money he was losing by not having stuff on his shelves, and how there was a vacuum created in Vallejo after the crackdowns that created a potentially very profitable situation. I see this too often with dispensary owners, who are extremely greedy, only care about lining their pockets, and forget about the patients. That’s not to say that all dispensary owners are that way, because I know many compassionate ones, but Matt Shotwell showed a level of greed that is inexcusable. Operating a medical marijuana dispensary should involve compassion, not just dollars.

Maybe if Matt Shotwell had given back to the movement that created the opportunity for him in the first place, he wouldn’t have felt so much despair as it seemed no one was there to protest, no one was there to help pick up the pieces, no one was there to write LTE’s to local media, etc. At one point in the first episode, Matt Shotwell needed a ‘marijuana expert’ to testify for him in court. Had he been active with Americans for Safe Access, NORML, Marijuana Policy Project, etc, he would have realized that getting an expert would have been easy. However, there he was, performing search engine queries on the internet with his girlfriend looking for a ‘marijuana expert.’ The oldest owner of a safe access point in a major city in California should never, ever get to that point unless they had fully forgotten to give back to the movement that created the opportunity for the dispensary owner in the first place.

I hate prohibition, and I hate the federal government’s crackdown on safe access in California. Untold numbers of patients were affected by their actions. However, medical marijuana dispensary owners that don’t give back to the movement, and are only in it for the dollars, don’t do anything to help the cause and indirectly help keep prohibition in place, and ensure further crackdowns by the feds. Let it be a lesson to all other medical marijuana dispensary/collective/club owners across the nation! I didn’t watch the second episode because I didn’t see the point, but below are a couple of clips in case others want to see what I’m talking about.


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. jack schrader on

    Seems to me that writer is more concerned about personal support but let’s talk about matt,writer forgets that the gov decided he should be in the fight of his life which fortunately was dropped! The canadian gov produces alcohol,both beer and whiskey, they regulate it and control the distribution, if our gov did the same and prepackaged mary jane in cig form and lose packed containers such as tobacco and put it in drug stores with the price low they would eliminate the black market entirely

  2. 80 lb. sold at $500/lb (not shockingly low for wholesale) works out to $40k. That’s dick, especially when two people are at it full-time for six months, and that’s before you’ve even paid the harvest hands. If cannabis is legal, why should you be unable to make a living from it?

    If cannabis prohibition is to end across the board, growers have to have the balls to grow it as they see fit. If that means a few plants for personal, fine. If it’s a 50 acre cash crop, that’s fine too. The only thing that’s not fine is telling growers how to govern themselves, whether you’re “The Man” or another grower.

    You worry about yours, let Mike worry about his, and should the laws change in my neck of the woods (Canada), I’ll worry about mine. Cheers.

    P.S. Please forgive the late reply. I guess we didn’t get the show up here right away.

  3. I agree with you100%! I had the same feelings about Shotwell’s GF Soraya from the get go. I think Soraya and Matt are perfect for other. They just want the cash.

  4. thats probably got something to do with the whole plan. the cops probably only agreed to help if the show did not push legalization. and having a guy like shotwell will change minds

  5. You just contradicted yourself. You originally said that you wanted it to be illegal. Now you say that you are all for legalizing. Which is it to be?

  6. You don’t realize that the people and community’s in the emerald triangle depend and survive on the growth of marijuana. Growing Marijuana is the only way that a lot of people (City’s & Towns) up here make there money for the year to feed there family’s and pay there bills. I’m all for legalizing if it was regulated the right way because there is thousands that it hurts what ever way the law goes!

  7. I was disappointed.. I thought it would be more legit doc style… ended up to much like hick reality show ..except for a few parts…smh

  8. I understand your perception of Matt in the beginning. But I feel he still realizes he is doing this for a reason, much the same reason as Nate. I think that he is just pissed off because he has nothing. NOTHING!!! No one is supporting him (girlfriend in particular). He is trying to prove that he can get back in the business. and I think that the reason he did not search for a “friend” or someone he has worked with before was because of his legal issues. I do not think that the large projects you listed would be willing to get involved with someone with legal issues. Considering he lost his business and I am guessing his medicinal license. It would look like they are helping drug dealers, not patients or dispensaries. B.E. did not seem too fond of the idea either. He took his lawyer to the first meeting so nothing wrong would be said. At least he did have the heart to try and help him. But i still completely understand your perception. I just looked at it differently.

    And by the way. Relating to your last paragraph. i created a petition on petitions.whitehouse.gov please sign up and sign it. I also have a feeling you may like the article I listed in it from the NIH. The way that they described cannabis as “bad” was humorous to me. It was all no different than alcohol and tobacco. Here is the link to the petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/give-us-legitimate-reason-keep-marijuana-illegal-medical-and-recreational-purposes/F98vzyJZ

    As you are a blogger and activist I know it may seem small considering what you do. I understand you have a busy schedule and all but please help. Blog the petition link every now and then. I feel like if we keep pressuring the feds they will eventually crack. Of course it will all happen soon anyway but lets try and speed up the process.

  9. Dennis Cordova on

    Whats next Disco Channel ? Leave mmj familly alone the damage is done. The real truth is hard work long hours . Ect…not about quantity its all about the quality meds and life. D.C

  10. Dennis Cordova on

    That basturd Shotwell shoudve never made it off the moutain. Crying shame grace farms had to harvest early . But somethings better than nothing. Mike by thankful you wont have to deal wifh M.S anymore. That a godsend . Nate my hats off to you and all your crew . Ive seen the benifits of cannabis to really ill people . People dying from aids and the relief they got from mmj. Makes all the work so worth it . Peace D.C

  11. CarolinaGirl3 on

    Loved it when he whined to Mike Boutin yet again how much time, money and gas he’d wasted and Boutin shot back “Did I ask you to come up here? Did I give you a date and time? How am I wasting your time?”

    I like Mike and Tawni. However, I’m a little confused about the whole “revocation” of his “concealed weapon” permit. All that means is he can no longer carry a gun outside his property on his person or in his car. It doesn’t mean he has to surrender his guns. I have guns of my own that I keep at home and don’t have a concealed weapon permit.

  12. I have to agree with you, Shotwell gave off the smell of snitch. Because this guy literallly was scared at what happened to him, they took everything and he was looking at 8 years at least. And all of a sudden he’s so quick to go buy more drugs and hook up with as many people he can and purchase etc. etc., that screamed snitch. Hell both the old man and the young guy making that stuff for the kid knew he was problems. I bet they knew it was too easy for him to get someone else busted so he doesn’t do any jail time. Wait until it comes out, I bet he is a snitch.

  13. KaiserSmokehelm on

    Also, He’s pissed that DC pulled his covers on him being an out of hand tweeker. Lulz! I am all for patients gettin what they need but nobody need’s a tweeked up moron driving around with a pistol and a bale of weed.
    Btw, Boutin should be embarrassed for putting the kid who works for him in harm’s way. No excuse for exploiting kids. And yes! 18 yr-olds are still kids.

    The antics he and his wife put on are priceless. Shouting matches and temper tantrums with the neighbors etc. The show is the best bit of comedy on tv right now.

  14. for the paitents not the dolla on

    He is a douche bag greedy person that deserves the 8 years sell ur Porsche then if u don’t have money seems like the rat in the whole show!

  15. agreed, on all counts, and Nope, I’m not a user either. But I passionately believe in it’s potential medical properties, and the use of hemp in general as a readily renewable crop for consumer products.

  16. Well, exactly. But, until it is legalized, don’t shift blame on the cops for guerilla grow destructiveness, because, they would still be doing damage to the environment, whether or not the cops ever find it to rip out. Cops enforce the laws and if the Park Service had the manpower, THEY would be ripping out the grows and not subcontracting it out to the County Sheriffs.

  17. legalize it, then people won’t have to plant in national parks- which our gov. can barely even keep open. You are complaining about problems caused by prohibition , problems that feed cops families by their band aid they put on it each day. Think for yourself

  18. Dennis Cordova on

    Hey Mike and all outdoor growers do we all need to grow 80 plus lbs a season ? Outdoor grows have pushed the limit. Keep it up and it all will come down . Greed is hunan nature. Think about that Mike .!!!!! My apoligies to you if you were upset that you played your part so well . No Mike we sleep fine every night . Just been around the block more than once.better times to you and yours. D.C

  19. these cops are such fakes 0 wanna be bad asses and in reality they are punks especially that goofball that wears the stupid Mountie hat or the douche bag sarge that thinks he gangster

  20. Dennis Cordova on

    Mike iam also a long time farmer i know how hard you and your wife work .dont know how much of show is scipted but you showed your stripes driving with loaded pistol and sack of buds . Well done sir .thanks for your help. Low profile brother was allways th e answer.over 45 years in this war its all about patiants and the best medicine our farmcan produce . D.c

  21. Dennis Cordova on

    Sorry if you fooled us must be your great acting . Mike i hope you got lots of pay. Good luck youll need. Shame the way that show came out . Plastic people live in plastic houses.

  22. Amen brother! Mr. Shotwell only cares about himself and is one of the main reasons there is a crackdown on the movement.

    People like him will bring down the medicinal laws we do have.

  23. Shotwell is a douchebag. He seems very uneducated about the weed game. I agree that he is portrayed as a person only involved with making profit. And the police of the show actually saying they are saving people from ruining their lives by getting pot off the street and preventing death. Really? Leave the weed growers alone and go stop real crime.

  24. Good luck to you and yours Mr Boutin. You seem to have your head on right, despite the pressures you deal with.

  25. If you are for responsible medical or legal cannabis growing and use, please don’t support the criminals trespassing to do illegal grows in State or Federal Parks. They are often done by Narco-trafficantes from Mexico and the domestic grows are hardly better with their water diversion and chemical pollution. Even organic pesticides and fertilizers are poisonous when in concentrated forms. Every one of the illegal grows I’ve seen are slob operations done by greedheads or criminal gangs that don’t care about the environment. Plus, giving the trespassers support just makes the MMJ industry look bad, because it IS bad. The illegal grows SHOULD be ripped out, just like anybody else growing something in the parks without permission.

  26. The thing about his girlfriend is that she was obviously totally cool with spending his pot money before he was busted. While Shotwell is douche-ey, he does have the courage of his convictions, unlike his opportunistic GF who was fine with the big bucks until after the bust. She just wants HIM to find another big income stream for her to benefit from. I find her to be even more douchey with her lack of loyalty when times got bad for her boyfriend.
    The show does a good job of revealing both the good: growers truly concerned for patients, and bad: greedy hangers-on and wanna-be Drug Lords, of the industry.

  27. Shotwell is a lame ass bitch!! Has snitch written all over him. When he goes he’s taken everybody…
    Hill weed goes for 5000+ here in OH

  28. matt shotwell is in it for the money only-not to help the people that need it –he should be put out of bussiness an locked up

  29. parasitesgetshotwell on

    fuck shotwell and all greedy middle men. stay the fuck out of the mmj industry please we do not need more people like you running shit acting like a badass cause “you’ve sold so many grams here (smerk)”. thank you

  30. That’s blood money. You don’t seem to give a rip that 800,000 people a year are arrested for weed in the US. You don’t care about people’s lives being destroyed by these despicable drug laws as long as you make a quick buck. By opposing legalization, you are colluding with the prison industrial complex and the DEA. You are just like those people who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII. If marijuana being legal means putting scumbags like you out of business, then I’m all for it. Btw, I wouldn’t pay two cents from quislings and kapos like you. You deserve to go to hell.

  31. I’m not a proponent of marijuana I do take prescription medication but this war on drugs is really tiring. I’m sick of the government spending millions of dollars on the fight. Wake up Washington your not going to stop it. If this thing is a tax issue then tax it but good luck, illegal alcohol on the east coast (Carolina’s ) has been going on for years and it has not been put to rest. good luck law enforcement.

  32. The Emerald Triangle supply’s a lot of the country and that takes money to do and grow, so when it is legal everyone does it and it brings down the price. I remember when I used to get $5000 a pound now down to a thousand and that hurts the big time grower.

  33. This has nothing to do with Mr.Shotwell but just a point about the show. They all grow outdoors. I find it funny that the cops are only looking for the outdoor growers. Think about all the indoor growers across California. There is no stopping this movement. If you can’t beat them join them.

  34. Mission Of Burma on

    I enjoy the show, but this blog is dead-on about Matt Shotwell. He actually disgusts me more than the Cops portrayed on this show. And, it amazes me that Shotwell has the stupidity to brazenly promote the fact he is breaking the law on TV while out on Felony bail. I find myself rooting for him to lose that beautiful girlfriend. Matt Shotwell: you are a douchebag.

  35. I took that comment to mean that you and your wife are working you asses off. I don’t think he meant it to be a slam on you. I’m not a smoker, but loved this show. The only thing that made me angry was not Shotwell, but a Sheriff who appears to think that he can fix this country by eradicating weed. He’s likely a a Republican – as am I – but doesn’t seem to get the part that making decisions for people about what is good for them is fascist and totalitarianistic. His level of narcicism is disgusting. God bless you and your wife for taking the risks that you take for the health of your patients and freedom!

  36. Agreed. Especially on the cop side. Do you actually think law enforcement would be taking a crew out into the field during a bust? No way. Also Mat Shotwell comes across as being stupid stupid stupid. Show biz.

  37. Matt Shotwell made a comment about the cops not having any balls and how the weed community will shut down the cops. He doesn’t speak for me. As a weed user and a level headed guy, he is way out of line. I hope what he is doing is scripted by the producer and not his true feeling. We need to legalize Marijuana. We don’t need angry people representing the legalization Marijuana movement.

  38. i respect you for having the courage/pride to allow Discovery to document your life. Im curious about whether youre ok with how the producers portray your 9mm. It looks a bit like it’s being used for dramatic effect. Im sure you know that the feds have a 5yr enhancement for possession of marijuana while having a firearm. I did some fed time a while back and i met dozens of good folks doing buck rogers bits due because the feds found a weapon

    With all the stuff about gun laws going on right now, it sucks the way they edit the gun front and center. I hope it doesnt come back to bite you.

  39. You are right. Matt wants to jack up the price. Look at what he said in the last episode, B.E. was selling lb for $500.00 and Matt would sell a lb for $1000. Or more. But Matt is also right about all those plants that the cops dig up, look at the money the County or State would make, as long as they didn’t have any mites or mold on the buds. I do wish them all good luck.

  40. I agree with you M. Simon. Parasites like that POS that you replied to are modern day quislings & Vichyites. Special place in hell for creeps like that.

  41. Just in it for the money then? Don’t care if people rot in jail as long as you get yours? We used to have a name for people like you. Something about Jews. Let me think. It’ll come to me. Oh. Yeah. We used to call people like you Nazis. Something for you to be proud of to be sure.

  42. mr shotwell is an inbarresment to medical marjuana farmers of the usa . we need more help for r farmers and get rid of the parisite that feed on the money of the pepole that realy need help please make this a show to helps not hurts our couse.
    ps my hats off to the rest of u.

  43. Matt Shotwell went further in the 2nd episode with his obvious greed overriding patient needs. He goes to see a supplier, plays the “compassion for patients” card, then goes back to Vallejo and tells his cronies that they can then sell it for 350% of what they payed for it and split the money. Shotwell is a poster child for the wrong way to go about running a medical cannabis dispensary. He is in it for big money at the expense of the patients wallets, charging street prices for medicine. He also boasts about how the marijuana industry has Law Enforcement “outgunned” and how growers have “bigger balls” than law enforcement. This man is a greedy fool.

  44. We sleep every night Dennis Cordova and your insinuation is slanderous and immature. Skunk smells his own hole first and the scent lies behind him…

  45. I always wonder why people read one chapter of a book and then do a book review while asserting they do not intend to read the rest of the book…

  46. Is it just me or does it seem that Discovery Ch completely sells out the growers, waaay too many coincidences with the law coming across these guys, who also have a crew with them .

  47. I dunno. I’m hooked on the show. Its entertaining. It also isn’t going to end well for a lot of the players. If you size everyone up in this show, they all suck. This could be part of the editing though. They all seem like egomaniacs in one way or another. But I have to agree that Matt sure comes off douchey. A LOT. Seriously, his girlfriend is XXX hot and he can’t be bothered to listen to her? He does whine about his cash a little much. The show also engages in deceptive editing like when the cops circle a grow op and Boutin hears some shit on his property. Then there’s a commercial break and WTF? The 2 incidents aren’t related? Like I said, it’s entertaining.

  48. Jonathan L. Peterson on

    Is the “War on Drugs” the Defense of an Unconstitutional Monopoly?

    That is exactly what is happening now, and is depriving citizens of Equality by law.
    This fact is hidden from most conscious minds included in status quo group, for self protection-survival reasons by sub-conscious mechanism.

    Truth is knowledge of what is real.

    com·mod·i·ty noun, plural com·mod·i·ties.
    1. an article of trade or commerce, especially a product as distinguished from a service
    mo·nop·o·ly noun, plural mo·nop·o·lies
    1. exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices.
    Law Prohibiting Illegal Monopolies:
    Anticompetitive monopolization violates federal antitrust law, notably the Sherman Antitrust Act, and are prohibited by state antitrust law, including the Cartwright Act in California.

    Under federal and some state laws, private parties (businesses or consumers) who were harmed by anti-competitive conduct can bring antitrust lawsuits seeking damages (in some instance treble damages) and injunctive relief. (example: to be imprisoned for not buying from a monopoly operated pharmacy).

    How Illegal Monopolies Are Formed
    Here are some examples of how illegal monopolies are formed:
    Price Fixing: competitors agree to buy or sell products or services at a fixed price or rate
    · Price Discrimination: selling similar goods to buyers at different prices
    · Exclusive Dealings: requiring a buyer or seller to do buy or sell all or most of a certain product from a single supplier (pharmacies only with a written script of permission: we need permission to buy a commodity)
    At the heart of this proof is our unalienable right of self determination which is fundamental to not being a slave to someone else’s’ wants or needs. Freedom to choice, Liberty to insure Freedom thanks to the Constitution for the United States of America and the world.

    · lib·er·ty (noun)
    The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life.

  49. He may be very interested in money because everything he had has been confiscated and seized. You don’t think that opening his business didn’t require a major investment…, and that anything of any value with his name on it hasn’t been “stolen” from him as being profits from his “illegal” enterprise regardless of whether he may have bought it years before he was ever involved in a dispensary? Then he has to prove that what was seized wasn’t from drug profits but he can’t get an attorney without the money that was taken from his bank accounts. I understand they even took his 401k investments, really?

  50. Oh come on…grow up! There is nothing wrong with making $..the problem I hv with this ahow is not Shotwell, but those jackass police that allow themselves to feel like they are doing good by ripping up plants..how much $ does that all cost for those teams of cops and the technology they use to rip up some plants? I don’t smoke but the cops make me sick..

  51. Dennis Cordova on

    Matts greed put him in the bind he’s up against now. Best thing he could do is bury his head in the sand.! I know Matt. Did biz with Greenwell. Grace farms would’ve slammed door on him if they sleept once in a while.

  52. whoever we look at this,theses people are frontline warriors,they put thereselves out there,remember eddie lep,mike boutin,this guy is almost guar-an-tee-inee he’s fucked.if not for the warriors,you couldnt do what you do,your not new,ypur carrying on a cause,vive la re-zis-te-ance

  53. I felt the same thing. i tried to give him a chance but the more the rich little prick spoke the worse he seemed. What really pisses me off is his and other dispensary owners willingness to play both sides. What I mean by this is on the one hand he is crying about being arrested and on the other explaining how the arrests are making a profitable situation for him. What an F’n D bag. When they finally fully legalize pot it will be growing in peoples front yards like B.E. is doing and Shotwell will be sinning the blues.with no desperate costumers to capitalize on.

  54. I agree. Mr Shotwell was portrayed as an individual only interested in the money. On the oppostie end are the two other growers who met with Shotwell who voice concern for the patients. They discussed getting medicine to the patients as the lowest cost and eliminating middlemen or brokers who only increase the price to patients withou providing any value. Also, kudos to them for not selling their surplus medicine (whats leftover after providing medicine directly to patients) to Shotwell.
    Im going to watch the next episode or two of Weed Country and give it a shot at providing a fair and unbiased view of canabis growers and providers but so far I havent seen much that has been encopuraging about this show.
    Time for some producer to step up and produce a show that is fair and show people the compassion and integrity involved in canabis reform

  55. I’ve been involved with many different aspects of the Marijuana Industry for 48 years now (been 420 friendly since 1965). Got busted by the office of Naval Intelligence 3 times and local authorities once in Phoenix, Az. (60’s & 70’s) I watched the first episode of Weed Country with “High Hopes”. Extremely disappointed with what I saw I’ll have to pass on the rest of the episodes.

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