I’m walking down the Venice Beach boardwalk on a lovely day in June, when I’m stopped by the barker outside the medical marijuana dispensary.
“Hey, man, you need a medical marijuana card?” he asks.
Actually, it’s not a dispensary. It’s a doctor’s office where you can get the certificate you need to buy medical marijuana at a dispensary.
I tell the dude he’s out of luck cause I’m visiting from Chicago and, as such, ineligible to buy medical marijuana in California.
Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong, he tells me. Turns out that just about anyone can buy medical marijuana in California–even busters from Chicago.
Apparently, California truly is the land of milk and honey, marijuanily speaking.
“How much?” I ask.
“Forty,” he says.
I’m thinking–as a journalist I’m compelled to see where this takes me. So…
I follow the guy into the storefront and wind up in a reception area reading over various disclaimers. Like…
“In the event of any conflict with law enforcement,” I give my consent to have my named turned over to the feds.
After a few minutes, I’m ushered into an examination room, where the doctor awaits. He’s a tiny, hunched-over man, who looks to be 80. At least.
He asks why I need marijuana.
On one hand I don’t really like the stuff–haven’t smoked it in over 30 years.
On other other hand, I love Cheech and Chong.
I’m not sure how much of this, if any, is relevant.
So I say the first thing that comes to my mind.
“Let me check your breathing.”
He comes out from behind his desk, and places a stethoscope against my heart. Then my back.
“Breathe,” he says.
“You’re good,” he says. “You’re approved for medical marijuana.”
He directs me to a side room where I sit with several other patients, most of whom look utterly miserable.
Obviously, there’s a reason sick people turn to marijuana.
One more time–legalize it!
Eventually, they send me to a room where the cashier tells me: “That will be $80.”
“$80,” I say. “The dude on the boardwalk said 40.”
“That covers the exam,” she says. Apparently, there are processing costs or something.
“That’s okay,” I say. “I’ll just pay the $40 for the exam and leave.”
“Okay,” she says. “Make it $60.”
I’m struck by two things…
One, we’re haggling. And, two, she’s got an East European accent.
I have half a mind to pay my $40 and head out. Then I think–this operation may be run by the Russian mob. Don’t want to end up in a dumpster.
So I pay $60 and walk away with a piece of paper–with a gold sticker in the upper left hand corner–that says I’ve been approved to buy medical marijuana for one month.
Like I said–just legalize it already.
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