"Look at the volume," Reyes said, insisting there's no reason to delay tougher enforcement. "How can you have such large volumes flowing without an organized effort?"
Michael Backes, a Cornerstone board member, agreed that lots of players are gaming the system. Dispensaries ought to be required to show where they're getting their supply and have it tested for impurities, he said. He'd tax growers too to clear out the riffraff, and he'd like for the California Medical Board to clamp down on doctors who write recommendations with their eyes closed.
Speaking of recommendations, I was told that L.A. Organic Pharmacy on Melrose is a popular herb dispensary, so I decided to check it out. While waiting for service, I was tempted by Purple Diesel, White Widow and Afgani Kush, but I finally settled on a gram of Skywalker, which was recommended for back pain.
But wait a minute. Was it the marijuana dust in the air, or were all the employees speaking Russian?
Sasha Churprovsky took me into a back room and said in a heavy accent that he was in heating and air conditioning until a few years ago, when someone suggested a career change. Now he's worried about the threat of a crackdown by L.A. City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, who reminds Churprovsky of another iron-fisted ruler.
"He's like Joseph Stalin!"
I noticed as we spoke that his imposing security guard was moving pillowcase-sized bags of weed out of a locked storage room, so I asked where all that product comes from.
Someone grows it for medicinal use, Churprovsky said, and ends up with some extra. So it gets donated to his collective, and for hundreds of members, the pain just melts away.
Beautiful. With a system like that, who needs healthcare reform?