July 1, 2008

Cable Show About Medical Marijuana to Air

By Liset Marquez

NORCO - You may not be able to dispense medical marijuana here, but you can learn about it.

"Marijuana: Compassion and Common Sense," a local cable show, began airing in Norco and Riverside in June.

"We're trying to tell the people about the benefits of the medical marijuana," said host and medical-marijuana advocate Lanny Swerdlow. "Humans have been using marijuana for over 5,000 years, and it was always seen as a medicine. But 70 years ago, suddenly, this became this dirty drug."

Swerdlow said the show's purpose is educational.

In September, Norco's City Council amended its zoning code by a 3- 1 vote to prohibit medical-marijuana dispensaries. Claremont and Chino have taken similar actions.

Ken Andersen of Corona, who operated the medical-marijuana dispensary Collective Solution before it was banned by Norco, said he was glad the show was airing locally.

"Anything to put the eye of medical marijuana out to the world, anything that can further awareness is good," Andersen said.

Every episode of the show includes discussion of recent issues medical-marijuana issues and interviews with local advocates and politicians.

Aside from producing and hosting the show, Swerdlow runs the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, a support group for medical- marijuana patients that holds monthly meetings throughout the Inland Empire. He also hosts a radio show every week on the same topic.

The cable show started three years ago in the Coachella Valley.

Swerdlow said he hopes to expand to more cities in the Inland Empire. The half-hour show airs Tuesday nights at 8 on Channel 32 in Norco.

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