More than a dozen years ago, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana for people with serious illnesses. Many used it to relieve pain or other symptoms — and that’s still true. But medical marijuana has now become a thriving business in California that serves a lot more than just sick people.
In some parts of Los Angeles, medical marijuana is more common than McDonalds or Starbucks. Places where you can buy a Big Mac or a double tall mocha latte are outnumbered by pot stores, at least 2 to 1.
All that’s required to purchase the marijuana is a recommendation from a doctor. And a new iPhone app will even help you find the nearest dispensary.
A Perfunctory Exam
Doctors don’t actually write prescriptions for marijuana. They give written recommendations that are often based on less-than-rigorous exams. Just ask Ron Haas.
“I can’t really say that it was a real medical exam. As much as I’d like to, I can’t. It wasn’t,” says Haas.
A 38-year-old film and television editor in Los Angeles, Haas went to see a doctor for the sole purpose of getting medical marijuana.
“I sat down, they said, ‘What’s wrong?'” he said.
“I said, I have chronic back pain, chronic ankle pain, chronic knee pain, chronic hips, wrists, elbows, everything. He said, “What are you using to treat?” I said marijuana. And he laughed and said, No, no, what kind? Sativa, indica, blends? And I said, I have no idea. And he said, “You will.”
August 12, 2009 8:21 pm