When Anneliese Curtis Place tore a ligament last month, she turned down the painkillers her doctor prescribed. Instead, she shopped for dope.
“It’s very easy to access it,” Curtis Place tells Metro. “I just drove to Venice Beach. There was a place called Botox on the Beach, and next to it there’s a medical marijuana store. They waved me in, for $150 their doctor did an exam, and I got my marijuana.”
There was nothing illegal about her purchase. Since 1996 the state of California permits the use, sale and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes. Anyone with a doctor’s recommendation can legally buy the drug in publicly available stores. (There’s even an iPhone application that lets users find them.) “Medical marijuana is increasingly becoming mainstream, even though it still operates in a legal gray area,” explains Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project. That’s because federal law bans the use of medical marijuana. As a result, federal agents frequently raid marijuana shops and farms that are legal according to California law.
An estimated quarter-million Californians now use the drug for medicinal purposes, purchasing it in some 2,000 shops.