Going legal with medical marijuana

Our writer finally gets a medical-cannabis physician referral

After years of quick-fix usage of marijuana to patch over some health concerns, I've decided to make a move from lazy self-medication to real treatment: Time to get my recommendation and go legal.

I knew little about medical-pot recommendations, aside from what I read editing this paper’s The 420 column every week. Would I end up on a federal shit-list? Would the doctor’s office be shady? Would they give me papers that I wouldn’t realize were false until being loaded into a police cruiser? Could I really expect treatment, not enablement?

Asking around, everybody had good words about 420 Med Evaluations at 2015 Q Street. I collected words of warning: For example, some said not to buy the ID card offered by the doctor, while others suggested that even the “proper” ID card provided by local government wouldn’t do much.

I knew in advance to bring an SN&R and find a coupon that mentions the Medical Board of California to get a price-matched recommendation. Cash is also a must at 420 Med Evaluations. ($50 with aforementioned coupons).

I make the appointment, and 20 minutes later I’m in the doctor’s office. The repurposed room lacks the sterility of a standard medical office, with its warm colors and residential-style brown-tile counter and wooden cabinets. The doctor fills out the forms and asks some basic questions. It doesn’t seem like she’s going to ask about why I need medical pot, so I jump in and start asking her about what strains I should seek out to calm my nerves, about proper dosages and frequency. She has no good answers for me.

It’s a bit of a blow, but it’s because she’s more knowledgeable about chronic physical pain. She’s happy to help me get access to medication, but as to the treatment plan itself, that’s something I should be talking about with a physician or psychiatrist.

As a whole, the experience both is and isn’t what I assumed. Was I naive to assume that I would receive a treatment plan from a pot doctor? Maybe. But, then again, why should it be naive to expect basic, proper advice on how to use weed?

On the other hand, I now have safe and legal access to cheap medicine that I know works for me, and it wasn’t a hassle to get it.

After the visit, I’m on my bike and soaring over to All About Wellness, at 1900 19th Street. There’s a visceral thrill in knowing that I’m now free and legal—no more paranoia.

At the dispensary, everybody is gracious and smiling. After handing over my new recommendation and my driver’s license, I’m asked to wait for a moment and soon find myself in the main room.

The room is a wonderland: potted plants to the left, a counter of oils, a rack of marijuana-infused coffees and teas in Keurig cups, jars upon jars of bud, pot cookies and candies behind the register and all of the necessary paraphernalia in a cabinet to the right. The air is sticky and sweet. The budtender patiently listens as I lay out my issues and ask for recommendations. He suggests an indica strain, something that will calm me down, pause the obsessive thoughts and help me to sleep. I ask a few more questions and decide to start in a middle ground, choosing a gram of an indica-sativa blend, Sweet Dream.

He hands me a jar and the bud smells sweet and potent. He bags it. I hand him my cash. (Pro tip: It’s a donation, not a purchase.)

I set out to get my recommendation, received it, got my medicine and returned to my apartment in less than an hour. The shortest, least irritating medical trip I’ve ever made. The next step will be to start looking at therapy again, but in the meantime I have access to affordable medicine to keep me going.