The Ol’ OB Hippie Writes / The OB Rag
I’m finally going legal after 50 years – or at least almost 50 years. I started smoking pot when I was a freshman in college. And I still smoke – but the other day, I went legal and obtained my medical marijuana card, and now I can smoke legally for the first time in a half century. And god I need it – for all my genuine ailments, from chronic back pain to insomnia to other problems whose symptoms are relieved by the inhalation of the medicinal gift from nature.
Actually my very first joint was during my first year’s Christmas break – I was going to college on the East Coast and had flown home for the 2 week break. Pot smoking literally exploded here in OB and Point Loma in 1966-67. It blew up in OB. And of course, PLHS was called “Pot Loma” after that large bust behind the church – I think – in 1968. Plus we all thought it would be legal by 1976. Seriously.
Of course over the decades, I’ve had to rely on the black market for my weed. Pot is a funny thing – first you smoke it and hide it from your parents, then later, you smoke it and hide it from your kids.
But – yea! – I’m finally legal.
I don’t know exactly why it took me so long to get my license to smoke. The initiative passed in 1996. Medicinal marijuana has been legal to smoke for almost 20 years.
Not sure exactly. But I think my generation was simply reluctant to go and get registered and potentially get on some government list of pot smokers that would be rounded up in case of a pot emergency. I don’t know. We just don’t trust the government – local or national. Local – here in good ol’ San Diego, medical weed has been soooo welcome. Wasn’t it our very own District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis who took the issue to the California Supreme Court? And lost – but really? All that money spent on trying to fight it.
And the City of San Diego – after 19 years with the statute on the books that marijuana can be medicinally harvested and smoked – STILL does not have a “legal” pot shop yet. A couple are going through the expensive process. But the limitations on them are fairly ridiculous. Here in OB – the hippie capital of San Diego – where marijuana has been smoked in mass quantities since the late Sixties – is totally off-limits. The restrictions are so tight that even OB can’t have one – a legal one – that is.
So, back to the matter at hand. Going legal.
I urge my friends who need it to go ahead and be certified, get legal. I did it for $40 and filled out a 4 page questionnaire on my medical and health history, sat down with a medical doctor, who said I qualified. I was given a signed Letter of Recommendation. This is the important document. I didn’t actually get a card for an extra $10. I’ve heard nobody accepts the cards anyhow. Everybody wants to see your original Letter of Recommendation. You just have to get them renewed every year.
It was a fairly non-chalet and quick process. From walking into the doctor’s office on University Avenue, doing the questionnaire and the interview, I walked out with my letter 20 minutes later.
And natch – I had to go visit my first dispensary right after getting my license to smoke after all these years. My buddy found one close by on weedmaps. Right over on 35th and El Cajon.
We walked into the minimalist storefront – a guard was walking around outside – handed my Letter and California ID to a person inside a room behind a thick window, filled out a brief questionnaire that needed my signature. Once I had been approved to be a member of the collective, I was ushered into the room where the wares and products were.
There was one long glass counter with 3 levels directly in front of us and 2 other counters off to each side in the room. A couple of young guys staffed the counters. Each level had different qualities of pot, with the very top holding the “top shelf” in glass containers. On the wall behind the counters were the numbers, the prices, the quantities of the different qualities. Gram prices ranged from $10 to $19. And brief descriptions, such as “sativa”, “indica”, or the most common, “hybrid”.
Plus all new patients are treated to some kind of freebie or real cheap price on something. You can ask to look, smell and even touch the flowers of the different containers. Under the counter on the right were the edibles. Lots of different, very professional, very commercial packaging of chocolates and much more.
Now that I’ve been approved to be a member, I can return to this dispensary as long as I bring my Letter. It was open from 8 am to midnight.
So, that was it – I returned home able to smoke weed legally – for the first time after all those years of hiding it from my parents, my kids, the cops.
My buddy told me a couple of days later that the dispensary we had visited already had closed. “Oh, it’ll reopen somewhere else soon,” he said. “And then they’ll stand open until somebody else makes a complaint.” Then the whole process begins again.
They say that 2016 is the year for California – that the initiative to legalize pot will be on that years ballot and it will certainly pass then. It’s not 1976 – it will be 40 years later. And it will be about time.