Dissed by the dispensary

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.

I am wondering what recourse patients have if they feel that a collective has taken advantage of them? I recently made a purchase, and when I got home I noticed that several items were missing. I called the dispensary and they pretty much gave me the runaround. I tried to ask for a manager, but I have had no success resolving this issue. I am very upset. Cannabis is expensive and I need it for my various medical issues. Any advice?

—Holden D. Bag

What a drag. I am sorry that you didn’t get what you paid for. Unfortunately, there are few options for recourse. You could post a scathing review on Weedmaps or Yelp, I suppose, but that probably won’t help much.

I talked to Kim Cargile, manager of A Therapeutic Alternative dispensary in Sacramento, and she told me the policy at her club was to have patients observe the budtender placing the medicine into the bag. She also told me that they have a “the patient is always right” policy: If a patient does get home and finds that some items are missing, they get replaced right away. (They also keep a file of returns and replacements, so don’t think that you can call in every week complaining about “missing” items and get away with it.) Most clubs have a policy like this, and if you are going to a club that doesn’t, I suggest you go elsewhere, tell your friends to avoid that particular club and let the free market do its thing.

Sad to say, I live in Florida. I am a disabled veteran. I take approximately 6,000 prescription pills a year, have a pain pump and also I have active lupus and I have to take blood thinners. About seven years ago, I smoked marijuana. My lupus was not as bad as it is now. I took fewer pills, I did not have to take blood thinners, I was not in bed 95 percent of the time (like I am now). I ate better food. I had a better life. Then my pain doctor told me that if I didn’t stop smoking marijuana, I would lose all of my pain meds for life because the law here in Florida sucks big time. I don’t have the money to move. I am in so much pain and I hate taking pills. Any ideas on what I should do?


First, thank you for your service. Studies show that medical marijuana can help people reduce their dependence on opiates and pain pills. You might think that the epidemic of deaths by opiate overdose would make the authorities more amenable to allowing medical cannabis, but apparently, no one uses common sense when creating drug policies.

However, 2016 is an election year, and the same folks who put a medical marijuana legalization initiative on the Florida ballot in 2014 are at it again, and this year I think they will succeed. Go to www.unitedforcare.org. Learn more and lend your support.