L.A.’s Summer of Pot

IMG_0772The 1960s may have had its Summer of Love, but in certain neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles, this has been the Summer of Pot. Based on my observations and conversations with friends, the herb has been a-permeatin’.

I can’t recall all the times that I have smelled or seen open weed smoking lately. Venice Beach (where I took the photo) is probably Ground Zero — no surprise there.   Last time I was on Venice Beach, I was in a shop that had a corner window facing South, and, through the window, the smell of chronic was mighty powerful.  I  also notice plenty of 420 in Santa Monica, such as at a recent concert on the Pier.  A friend also tells me that the bud is sprouting a-mighty in West Hollywood.

The little I think I know of the situation is that (a) medical marijuana is legal in California in certain situations through dispensaries; (b) the dispensary system is really easy to take advantage of, i.e., you go to a doc who is licensed to prescribe Aunt Mary, name just about any symptom having to do with pain or stress, and they give you a card; (c) dispensaries are all over the place, especially in neighborhoods such as Venice; (d) possessing ganja, even for medical purposes, is still illegal under federal law; (e) the Bush administration enforced the federal law and raided clinics in California; and (f) the Obama administration isn’t doing (e).

I’m sure I have some of that wrong or, at best, oversimplified.  I watched a few minutes of Marijuana Inc., which supposedly explains much of this, but then got pleasantly distracted by a better offer.  I also don’t know where the skunk is grown, whether that’s legal, who is selling what to whom, and whether any tax revenues are going to the California Treasury.  I certainly hope so.  That’s much better for our budget than the cost of incarcerating people for simple possession of the kif.

So who here can explain the situation?  I have friends who are jumping for joy at the prospect of a new era of recreational, er, I mean medical, freedom.

9 Replies to “L.A.’s Summer of Pot”

  1. While much of what you say is true in certain situations, not to be overlooked is the fact that the medical marijuana law allows many, many people who genuinely need the herb for serious, debilitating conditions to use it lawfully.

    Whatever one thinks of the recreational use of marijuana, these medical patients are already protected by law and shouldn’t be made to suffer ridicule at the hands of those who aren’t familiar with the facts.

  2. I can explain a lot to you about medical cannabis. What would you like to know?

    Yes, you are correct when you say you are wrong & oversimplifying the alphabetical list.

    Yes, taxes are being paid to the state.

    What else?

  3. Good point, Steve. Medical marijuana must be a godsend to many patients, such as those undergoing chemotherapy and suffering severe nausea and loss of appetite. Denying them this assistance would be cruel, so they must be somewhat relieved by the apparent improvement in legal/enforcement practices. However, what I noticed this summer is that many people seem to be taking advantage of the situation more (indeed, often totally) for recreational “aromatherapy” than for a specific medical condition.

  4. There was the dispensary on Washington Blvd. across from the In-N-Out and Costco (which I didn’t even know was a dispensary) that was raided a few weeks back, and the feds shot and killed the dog that the owners had. The owners had a sign up for a while after that mentioning the killing.

    A few months back, I was talking to a guy I know from Ireland that was staying in SoCal for a while. I met him in Santa Monica after he spent a day wandering around there and Venice, and he was baffled by the contradiction of our war on drugs while he saw numerous places offering medical marijuana and easy consultations with doctors.

    Matt, the New Yorker had an excellent story last summer about medical marijuana in California, and the logistics behind growing it and selling it. Well worth a read:
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/28/080728fa_fact_samuels

  5. seems like certain people in my neighborhood are using it more for “recreational aromatherapy” (thx Matt). at the same time we do have a major deficit and legalizing & taxing pot would be a good revenue stream.

  6. The fact that some people smoke it for “non-medical” purposes does not negate the fact that it is a godsend for various ill patients (cancer and AIDS come to mind for starters).

    In fact, a much larger portion of the general population abuse prescription drugs – esp. senior citizens. This does not mean we suddenly must outlaw prescription drugs.

    And how many of us have saved the codeine/cough syrup the doctor prescribed for a cough – and finished it off recreationally?

    People also drive cars without a license – this does not mean we outlaw cars.

    It is amusing that people act all surprised/shocked about the smell of pot wafting in the street when it is common for that same smell to waft from the patio or backyard of most every house party held in Los Angeles! You know what I am talking about.

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