New SBS VICELAND series Weediquette examines pot from several perspectives, exploring the human face of marijuana use for its health and recreational benefits, while also documenting public policy surrounding the use of marijuana, and the bourgeoning industry building up around legalisation.
Whether one is pro-legalisation or not, it has been shown that there are considerable immediate benefits for the economy, with an industry building around direct growing, distribution, and retailing of weed, along side industries that benefit like those selling accessories.
With Weediquette launching this week, we wanted to talk to a local Australian who offered an insight into the benefits of legalisation and the examination of the issue in the show.
David Pyne is the owner and operator of D’ Munchies, a café in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Newtown that specialises in ‘Food for stoners by stoners’. The store opened in mid-2016, selling stoner-food and hemp-related products.
A store like that, one would assume, could become a target for police and other unwanted attention. That simply isn’t the case. Pyne explained that “We had police for the first time two days ago and that was just because we called them. There was a theft in our loading dock. They were very helpful and great. There’s been no issues.
“We’re not doing anything illegal. There have been a few people come into the shop a couple of times who are anti-weed. It’s still a topic that is a bit taboo. Not everybody is a fan of weed. We understand that and appreciate that. We just do what we love and what we believe in. We have been embraced by the people that embrace the weed culture. It’s been great”
Given his own interest, Pyne was understandably enthused by Weediquette: “I thought it was brilliant. I watched the episode twice.
“While it was interesting to see the flourishing new industry in the states, it’s still a very different case here in Australia. We’re all watching to see how this industry goes.”
Catching Pyne’s attention was an episode from late in the first season about women entering the industry. “Most industries are historically male dominated, but this new industry creates an opportunity for more equality. Stoners have a sense that it is a community and everyone is in it together.”
Episodes of Weediquette open with host Krishna Andavolu on the phone to his mother telling her that he is going to host a TV show about weed. Pyne laughed at the scene, while recounting his own similar encounter with his own parents.
“It was interesting - It was almost like coming out or something,” he said. “I said ‘I’m opening this place. It’s all about food and stoner food and weed’. They’ve been great. They’ve come up to the store numerous times and given a lot of support.”
For Pyne, being involved peripherally in the weed industry, as limited as it is in Australia without legalisation, has been a long-time ambition.
“I’ve been a chef for twelve years - working at some of the best in Sydney and London. It’s always been something that I’ve aspired to do. I wanted to have a store that also sells hemp products, because that’s a thing I enjoy as well. That evolved into D’ Munchies and here we are," Pyne said.
Weediquette airs on SBS VICELAND Wednesday nights at 8:30pm. Stream it later on SBS On Demand.