I normally don’t eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. OK, actually I do, and sometimes I even get good ideas for this column from what I overhear.
Take yesterday, for example. My son and I were having lunch at a local restaurant and seated at a nearby table were two men, one of whom was talking rather loudly and enthusiastically. What got my attention was the word “pot,” and he wasn’t talking about cooking.
The man was explaining to his dining companion how great it was that here in California you can get pot from little stores, rather than having to call a drug dealer to, as he put it, “hook you up.” He went on to say how the stores have a good selection of products to choose from and are safe and secure. That must differ from the areas where he used to get his “products.”
He added that his boss knows about his drug use and “is cool with it” as long as it happens on his own time. His place of employment obviously doesn’t have drug testing.
What surprised me most was that he talked about what a great business opportunity it would be to open up a medical marijuana dispensary. In fact, he mentioned that his niece asked him for advice on opening a business and he suggested that she get a license and open a dispensary. I suspect he will be her first customer.
Now I know that smoking marijuana really does help people with serious diseases like Multiple Sclerosis or Glaucoma, or those undergoing chemotherapy, to manage their conditions. This young man, however, did not appear to be suffering from any such health issues.
Maybe he has one of the other ailments that can be treated with marijuana. I found a website that lists 259 “Chronic Conditions Treated With Cannabis.” Among them are writer’s cramp, tension headaches, conjunctivitis (otherwise known as pink eye), coughing and hiccoughing. For the last one, my mom always used a spoonful of sugar and it worked like a charm. No need to light up.
I have several of the conditions listed and didn‘t realize that I was so sick. Maybe I should apply for a card, purely for medical reasons, of course.
I also looked up medical marijuana dispensaries on yelp.com, since it’s always good to get recommendations before trying out a new business. There are lots of reviews with most dispensaries earning four or five stars. (Really, who’s going to complain?)
Many reviewers said that they got their card in less than 30 minutes. One dispensary gives a discount if you mention that you found them on yelp, another gives two free joints on your first visit, and yet another has a rewards card for their returning customers.
In November, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas such as La Crescenta, and Glendale has had a year-long moratorium on dispensaries in place since last August.
Last summer it was widely reported that Los Angeles was closing down more than 400 dispensaries, but a judge’s ruling in late December has allowed many of those to reopen, including some in Tujunga.
I guess that means that the fellow at the restaurant won’t have to drive too far to get his “medicine.”
SHARON RAGHAVACHARY is on the steering committee for Crescenta Valley Community Assn. and a member of the Family Advisory Council for Children's Hospital Los Angeles. She may be reached at email@example.com.