Investigating Medical Marijuana Part III

The marijuana laws are changing rapidly as the drug has been decriminalized and seems destined for legalization. California and the O.C. have been at the forefront of this. While we think that the process will lead to damaged lives, it is our duty to follow up how this is affecting people. Our undercover reporter finds out what he can.

Jack and I got in his car and he pulled out his iPhone. I had to laugh when he showed me that there was actually an iPhone App just for finding nearby dispensaries based on our GPS location. Before I could say, “the times they are a changing” Jack pointed to a star exactly 2.2 miles from our location, and exclaimed “X marks the spot!” and handed the phone to me. I read some of the reviews while we drove. The reviewers seemed to have their own language and I asked Jack what some of the terms meant.

I learned a lot on that short drive. For example, if the dispensary sells “edibles” that means they sell marijuana products that don’t have to be smoked. These include traditional items like marijuana brownies or cookies, and more exotic items like weed butter, ganja beer, pot lollipops, marijuana tincture, and even bud BBQ sauce.

I was able to discern on my own that a “pre-rolled” was a joint, or marijuana cigarette, but I again had to ask for clarification when I saw the word “tincture.” I asked jack what that was, and he said, “oh, it’s liquid weed. The marijuana is soaked in alcohol and it absorbs all the THC out of the plant.”

“So you drink it?” I asked, wondering how this was different than the “ganja beer”. He laughed, “No, you just put a few drops on your tongue, and goodbye migraines.”

A moment later we pulled into a strip mall in Orange that I had seen at least a dozen times before, but had never realized that the store next to the Subway sandwich shop was a marijuana dispensary. It didn’t proclaim itself loudly as a dispensary, but it didn’t really hide it either. The sign said they were a caregiver’s association, which was generic enough, but the red-yellow-green font should have been a clue.

I felt a little nervous as we walked up to the doors. I hoped nobody I knew saw me walking in. “I’m just doing this for a story I swear!” seemed like an awkward explanation. Luckily, nobody seemed to recognize me and we hurried through the tinted doors. The waiting room was again not what I expected. It was a well furnished, brightly lit room with music playing softly and several flat-screens showing basketball. There was a bored looking uniformed guard with a pistol on his hip leaning against a glass door in the back. I couldn’t help but notice a distinct marijuana smell pervading the room. Jack went to the front counter and gave the cute girl behind the counter his paperwork and a picture ID. She said it would just be a few minutes for her to verify his “recommendation.”

I asked her what the process was and she said they just needed to look his info up on the internet. She said they see a lot of people from the doctor we went to, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I asked if I could go in with him, but she said no, not unless I had a “rec” as well. She seemed pretty firm about it, so I had a seat. It was about five or ten minutes later and the girl told Jack he go in. He picked up his paperwork and went to the door the guard was now holding open. He told Jack, “don’t use your cell phone in there,” and let him in. After the first door shut, I saw another guy holding an interior door open. He shook his hand and led him into the interior.