|Illustration by PJ McQuade|
There needs to be something wrong with me. That's the only way you can buy pot legally, even in Venice Beach.
And so I sit in the doctor's office and ponder the form I've been told to fill out: What am I suffering from?
"Anxiety," I write. "And hemorrhoids."
I didn't need an appointment to visit the Green Doctors, a shabby, open-air storefront "clinic" that has been operating right off the beach since 2005. Nor was there much of a wait once I completed the paperwork. Once inside the medical man's office -- no door handle, particleboard desk -- Dr. Lieberman, an older guy with a thick gray mustache, listens to my heart and lungs and glances at his clipboard. "Hemorrhoids?" he asks thoughtfully. "Does smoking marijuana help with that?"
He's the doctor. Shouldn't he be the authority? But I play along, as if I know. Indeed it does, I assure him.
Thanks to a combination of contradictory factors -- the L.A. City Council's attempted dispensary ban, its reversal last week in the wake of a citizen referendum, a series of raids by the federal government, state law be damned -- Los Angeles is in pot purgatory. The result is an elaborate pas de deux between doctors and patients. In some ways, buying pot these days is akin to filling your prescription for Prevacid. In others, it still feels criminal, as my buddy Keith and I discover on a Saturday morning when we set out to explore the state of the scene.More »