"It's the balloon theory," Jeff Raber, president of a cannabis testing lab in Pasadena, tells The Times' David Pierson about an unintended effect of Proposition D, which prompted a crackdown by local authorities on storefront marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. Hundreds of the stores have closed. "They think taking down all the dispensaries will make it go away. But it's not going away. It's going to morph into something else."
"Something else" turns out to be dial-a-bud services: pot delivered direct to your door. "Once a small, word-of-mouth phenomenon, mobile marijuana businesses now number in the hundreds across Southern California. Nationwide, pot delivery services have nearly tripled in three years, from 877 to 2,617, according to Weedmaps, a Yelp-like online directory for pot businesses," Pierson writes.
Services that offer the convenience of marijuana by phone (or text or email) aren't legal. For the time being, however, the fuzz is laying off. Pierson explains the tacit modus vivendi:
"California cities have mostly allowed the services to operate freely. State medical marijuana laws don't mention delivery services, which, like dispensaries, require patients to join as members of a collective. A few cities, including Riverside, have banned marijuana delivery. The L.A. city attorney's office said mobile businesses are prohibited under Proposition D, but it has yet to prosecute any."
If you know potheads — and I do — you might share my two-fold reaction. I don't see the harm. As long as the delivery people aren't using the product, who cares? But I can't help think that this is yet another way that capitalism is conspiring to turn Americans into the laziest and most indolent people on Earth.
Before legalization, scoring pot required some effort. You often had to get off your butt and drive somewhere — perhaps to an unpleasant neighborhood — to obtain party favors, as they call them on Craigslist. You might spend the night, or the week, in a stoned stupor. Beforehand, however, you benefited from an hour or two of physical effort and socio-cultural eye-opening.
The dispensaries dispensed with the exotic visits to strange and unusual sectors. Still, there was the separation of buttock from seat cushion back then.
Now that's gone.
Stoners can order "packets of marijuana buds, gummies, hard candies and a fat joint" from their smartphones. If your couch is near a window, you don't even have to get up.
Follow Ted Rall on Twitter @tedrallCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times