The headshot accompanying today’s announcement that Ryan Nerz is the U.S. TV world’s first officially anointed chief cannabis correspondent is spot-on. No suit jacket? Check. No tie? Check. A rugged, outdoorsy look in tune with the two states currently most friendly to his beat? Double check.
The Yale-educated, Brooklyn-based contributor to NPR, Esquire, The History Channel and other outlets is also the author of last year’s Marijuanamerica. The work he did for that book is his beat’s equivalent of J-school:
Nerz’s cross-country investigation started out sensibly enough: taking classes at a cannabis college, hanging out with a man who gets three hundred pre-rolled joints per month from the federal government and visiting the world’s largest medical marijuana dispensary. But after connecting with a mysterious friend of a friend, his journey took an unexpected turn and he found himself embedded with one of the largest growers and dealers on the West Coast.
He quickly transformed from respectable journalist into an underworld apprentice – surrounded by pit bulls, exotic drugs, beanbags full of cash and trunks full of weed. But while struggling to navigate the eccentric characters and rampant paranoia of the black market, he maintained enough equanimity to explore a number of vital questions.
Under the new arrangement, Nerz will be expanding his Fusion TV morning show segments The Cannabusiness Report into a series of longer half-hours. Check out a recent example of those, here.