The Austin Chronicle

High Profits: Cannabis as Pot of Gold

By Marjorie Baumgarten, April 19, 2015, 11:15am, Picture in Picture

On the eve of 4/20, CNN airs a marijuana double-hitter: the premiere High Profits (produced by Austin-based Bat Bridge Entertainment), and Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution, Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s ongoing investigation into the safety of marijuana. Or as the news network’s PR department puts it: “Sunday is Smokin’ on CNN.”

High Profits is an eight-part docuseries that follows the money once recreational marijuana sales and use became legal in the state of Colorado on January 1, 2014. The series’ focus is on Brian Rogers and Caitlin McGuire, whose Breckenridge Cannabis Club (BCC) grew from a $515,000-per-year medical marijuana dispensary with four employees to a $5 million-per-year business of nearly 30 employees. The couple plans on becoming the first ever “moguls of marijuana,” and the series shows that with their chain of retail stores, they are well on their way to building the first legal weed empire.

Even though, statewide, the Colorado Department of Revenue reported $700 million in marijuana sales in 2014, the first episode of High Profits shows some of the conflicts that arise between BCC and various Breckenridge residents who oppose the store’s presence on the town’s main tourist drag. Rogers and McGuire shrewdly planted their business in this location in order to profit from the tourist trade. However, in this vacation town whose main business is tourism, many locals oppose the conspicuousness of BCC’s pot business and fear that its clientele will degrade the overall ambiance of the vacation destination.

“Bat Bridge Entertainment is passionate about telling compelling, unique stories and it doesn’t get much more interesting than the realities of the booming marijuana industry in Colorado,” says Stephen Germer, executive producer for Bat Bridge Entertainment. Despite High Profits being the Austin company’s first production, it’s an auspicious debut since many distributors vied for the show before the producers settled on CNN. The company describes itself as follows: “Established July 2013, Bat Bridge Entertainment is a full service production company based in Austin, Texas. They are storytellers who create high quality unscripted and scripted content for major cable networks, while priding themselves on identifying exceptional characters and uncharted worlds. Bat Bridge Entertainment reveals the tapestry of the human experience. Their stunning visual style pairs perfectly with their ability to tell substantive, entertaining narratives, believing the best stories, are true stories.”

High Profits premieres tonight, Sunday, April 19, at 9pm CST on CNN. It will be preceded at 8pm CST by Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution, a Dr. Sanjay Gupta Report.

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