A License To Chill

A License To Chill
Posted by CN Staff on February 11, 2007 at 06:14:48 PT
By Michael Goldstein
Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles -- Do you medicate? I do.I'm not talking about Xanax or Prozac or Vicodin or their siblings. I have a "recommendation" (not a prescription, a recommendation) for pot. This puts me in a legally and socially problematic condition. The state of California says I can ingest marijuana for medicinal purposes, but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration thinks I'm a criminal if I do.
Because THC can make you feel good when you're healthy as well as feel better when you're sick, people who don't know me might see me as a big-bong punch line, in a Cheech and Chong kind of way. If you pop Viagra, you're tough and sexy; if you smoke weed, you're half-baked. I've been an occasional user of pot for 30 years. Only in the past six months have I done so without risking arrest, at least as far as Sacramento is concerned. It was very easy to become a medical user, but it raised a question: Was I better off breaking the law? In Los Angeles County a recommendation can be filled at more than 100 dispensaries, many of which have been raided by the DEA. Proposition 215, the first of its kind in the nation, went into effect in 1996 and prohibits a doctor from being punished for having recommended marijuana to a patient who is "seriously ill." A 2003 law requires the state Department of Health Services to "establish and maintain a voluntary program for the issuance of identification cards to qualified patients." I was aware of these laws long before last summer but hadn't felt the urge to take advantage of them until someone stuck a flier under my windshield. It was from California Natural Pain Relief on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, and it informed me, misspellings and all, that "Medical cannabis can be recommended for the care and treatment of Cancer, Cronic pain, arthritis, Migraines, Diabetes, Insomnia, Anxiety, Aids Nausea, Epilepsy, Lupus, Depression, Eating Disorders, Menopause, PMS, Asthma, etc."When I visited California Natural Pain Relief, the folks there directed me to a doctor at another office. Since I experience occasional but painful attacks of gout, a form of arthritis, as well as other foot and knee pain, I brought a load of medical records and a vial full of Vioxx that I had been too scared to take. The doctor gave me a brief physical exam and a blood pressure test, discussed how marijuana could alleviate the pain and inflammation and wrote and signed an official-looking, green-trimmed recommendation. This included the doctor's signature, a photocopy of my driver's license and a key phrase: "approve of the use of cannabis for my patient." I paid $150 cash. Armed with my license to chill, I drove back to Ventura Boulevard, smiled at the beefy bodyguard, strolled inside and handed the recommendation to the dispensary operator. There was a faintly agricultural scent in the air. Under a glass countertop were vials labeled Master Kush, Cotton Candy and OG Kush; also on display were variants of cannabis strains known as chronic and ganga. I forked over $50 for an eighth of an ounce and received a small pipe as a new-patient gift. Later, when I told a friend about my purchase, he laughed and delivered the ultimate insult: "You paid more than street value."My solace was that my uncontrolled substance use was sort of legal. L.A. lawyer Allison Margolin, who calls herself "America's dopest attorney," explained that my recommendation wasn't above-board in the eyes of the feds. But could they go after me if they found physician-recommended pot in my house? They could, but "no judge is going to pursue it," she said. Snipped:Complete Article: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author:   Michael GoldsteinPublished: February 11, 2007Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Article:The Great California Weed Rush Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 11, 2007 at 14:07:17 PT
Some Coloradans Test Limits Of Medical Pot Law
Poll: Do you think Ken Gorman is taking advantage of Colorado's medical marijuana law?URL:
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on February 11, 2007 at 08:26:14 PT
3d  grammy
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 11, 2007 at 07:42:30 PT
Off Topic: The Grammy Awards
Grammys Put Political Songs Center Stage ***Larry Rodgers, The Arizona RepublicFeb. 11, 2007 Protest music has moved from the American counterculture during the Vietnam era to high-profile recognition at tonight's 49th-annual Grammy Awards. Political songs by such masters as Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young got short shrift from music-industry professionals who voted on the Grammys in the '60s and '70s. But a larger, more sophisticated membership this year has nominated 12 acts for work commenting on the Iraq war, President Bush's policies, Hurricane Katrina and terrorism's global shadow. URL:
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