Fusion has named acclaimed author and journalist Ryan Nerz as the first ever network Chief Cannabis Correspondent. Nerz will contribute regularly to Fusion’s digital and TV platforms, exploring answers to the biggest questions surrounding cannabis culture and the booming industry evolving around it. A Yale-educated journalist, Nerz has written for NPR, Esquire, and the History Channel. He is also the author of MARIJUANAMERICA: One Man’s Quest to Understand America’s Dysfunctional Love Affair with Weed and Eat This Book: A Year of Gorging and Glory on the Competitive Eating Circuit. Over the course of the three years he spent writing MARIJUANAMERICA, Nerz attended Marijuana Anonymous meetings, spent time with a 15-year old autistic boy who used pot brownies as medicine, and profiled a Northern California weed grower – all to help answer some of the most asked questions about marijuana: Is it hurting or helping us? How is it affecting our lungs, our brains, our ambitions? Is it truly addictive?
Fusion has ordered a limited series of half-hour specials to be hosted by Nerz entitled “The Cannabusiness Report.” Over the past several months Nerz has developed the “Cannabusiness Report” franchise through segments on Fusion’s morning show, which now airs in primetime as “Fusion Live.”
“Marijuana legalization is an issue that is taking on increasing relevance – politically, economically and culturally – and requires the kind of coverage that only someone with Ryan’s expertise can deliver,” said Fusion CEO Isaac Lee. “Ryan’s reporting is a great example of how Fusion is uniquely capable of providing news, information, and opinion on topics that matter to millennials, especially in situations where the mainstream media can’t keep up.
Despite recent growth in support of legalizing marijuana sales, the federal government still considers it a dangerous drug and marijuana makes up roughly half of all drug arrests in the United States. President Obama weighed in on the issue during an interview earlier this year saying he believes marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol. In 2013 marijuana became legal for recreational use in two states — Washington and Colorado. Colorado made national news recently when the state announced it collected $2 million in tax revenues from its first month of legal recreational marijuana sales.