Obtaining a medical marijuana card nowadays is as easy as making a doctor's appointment. Dispensaries and doctor's offices are popping up all over Southern California to help those in need.
Just like anything else, there is a method to the madness of receiving a medical marijuana card and where to buy your weed, said Joffran Gonzales, a volunteer in a collective in the Los Angeles area.
"A collective is a group of people, including the patients, where everything is donated. There are no transactions. The money is donated from the patients, and the marijuana is grown by the volunteers within the collective, unlike a dispensary," Gonzales said.
The difference between a dispensary and a collective is that there is no salary at the collective for the people volunteering. The marijuana and money is "recycled," according to Gonzales. Through a dispensary, the employees are able to buy their weed from outside sources, bring it to the dispensary location and sell it to their patients. A similarity between the two is that both locations require a doctor's recommendation from the patient and identification of some sort, Gonzales added.
However, patients like Jody Robinson, a mother of three and a businesswoman in Costa Mesa, visit a dispensary to buy medicine. Robinson, who is going through menopause, suffers from psoriasis, acid gas reflux and a lack of sleep. She sought out a medical marijuana card to ease her pain and help her sleep better.
After finding a local doctor's office online that aids in the process of getting a medical marijuana card, she paid $150 and received her card the same day.
"It was a very professional doctor's office; it was like a regular office," Robinson said.
Robinson has found a blend of marijuana that is a good balance for the symptoms that she was experiencing. She said she buys enough to last her a week, at either $20 per gram; however, Robinson also said she sometimes stocks up with "quantity discounts" for $60 per eighth.
"It's like street prices but quality marijuana," Robinson said.
The dispensary makes it possible for not only their patients to smoke the marijuana by selling pieces and bongs, but they also sell baking accessories if a patient wanted to bake their marijuana into food instead, said Robinson.
Caitlin Hardesty, 21, an employee of a beauty supply shop and a resident of Irvine, needed her medical marijuana card for her anxiety and insomnia.
Hardesty found her doctor's office in Long Beach through word of mouth. She paid $200 for her license and needed to show proof of her symptoms to obtain one.
"I was taking Ambien at the time for my insomnia, so I had to show the doctor my prescription I had for that," Hardesty said.
Hardesty also explained that she was told to never come with someone in her car to the dispensary to purchase her marijuana and to put it in the trunk right when she got to her car to avoid it looking like a drug deal if she were to get pulled over.
According to Robinson, after a year, the card will expire, but if a renewal fee is paid, much like a driver's license, the medical marijuana license will be good for another year.
Both Robinson and Hardesty agree that it is a very easy process to obtain a medical marijuana card.
"Any individual that is over 18 and suffers from a myriad of medical conditions ranging from asthma to anxiety can be evaluated by a licensed physician to receive a medical marijuana recommendation," Gonzales said.
October 15, 2009