This may not surprise you, but it surprised me: I was visiting California for one week and I had no trouble purchasing medical marijuana. Maybe I shouldn’t say “no trouble”—I spent some money, told a few minor lies and had an embarrassing encounter involving Burger King coupons. Overall, though, it was surprisingly easy to get a doctor’s letter saying I could purchase prescription weed in Los Angeles.
I was staying with friends in Venice Beach. My second day, strolling along on the boardwalk—amidst the tattoo parlors, souvenir shops, take away restaurants and performance artists—there were a handful of medical marijuana clinics. These weren’t dispensaries, but sites where doctors could certify you to purchase medical marijuana in the state. In front of them, white men with dreadlocks passed out flyers, advertising places with names like “Kush Dr.” I must have been staring too hard, because one of them approached me. “You interested in getting legal?” he said.
“Oh, um, I don’t live here,” I said. “In California.”
“That’s okay,” he said.
I don’t know how much you know about state medical marijuana licensing—I did not know much, but I was pretty sure this could not be right.
That night, I told this to my friends, and they were disappointed I didn’t take things further. It did seem a shame not to see where this led (yes, this is exactly the kind of logic that gets me into trouble …). I went back the next afternoon after brunch with my host at the kind of raw/macrobiotic/vegan place Venice Beach was delightfully full of. As I was contemplating whether to try the same place or one of the others, a flyer-boy from a different shop approached me. “Hey,” he said with a big, friendly cult-member-type grin. “You interested in getting legal?”
I was, I told him, but I wasn’t a resident of California. “That’s okay,” he said. “Are you going to be?”
“Um, I’m thinking about it,” I said. This was true, in a vague way, sorta kinda. “I’m staying with friends right now … while I look for a place.” Well, partly true ..
It was cool, anyways, he informed me; I just needed an address to list. “You can give your friend’s address right now and change it when you move,” he said.