This past weekend, I went to California for a wedding. Most of the trip was going to be spent in sleepy Malibu, but my fiancee and I had one day and night in Santa Monica–my new favorite city to visit. So during that short stay, I decided to make the most out of my morning and head to Venice Beach in search of getting legal marijuana.
It was supposed to be pretty easy, even for someone who technically isn’t a California resident.
For those of you who haven’t actually been to Venice Beach before, the place definitely has a lot of character. There are homeless people mixing it up with skaters, tourists, merchants… The place is just weird. But among all of the stores in Venice Beach, the most prominent seem to be places like the Green Doctors: places where you can score marijuana prescriptions with zero hassle.
These businesses promise people “easy legal” to patients who have various ailments (insomnia, back pain, lack of appetite, etc.) and a short wait time. They also have signs above their door that advertise your visit will only cost you $40 for a medical marijuana evaluation. I can say with certainty that it’s definitely easy, there is no wait time, but you’re definitely going to have to pay more than $40.
I arrived at Green Doctors at 10:00 A.M., which was when the doctor first arrived. There was no wait time. I signed some paperwork, never lied about anything, and put the name of my hotel when they asked for my California address. Within minutes I saw the doctor, a short, nice, older gentleman who must have been 75+ years old. He took some vitals, asked me about my ailments, and within five minutes had prescribed me with marijuana to cure my insomnia.
That was all gravy. I actually kind of enjoyed that part. But then they took me into a minuscule payment room where I was informed that I owed them $180 for the script, and then another $40 if I wanted a plastic card that proved I was a legal patient. When I say small, I mean comically small. There’s literally just room for an ATM, a small desk, and one person (me) to stand.
I think if they had gone about the payment in a different manner I wouldn’t have reacted so negatively towards it, but the truth is that as soon as they took me into that room I knew that I was going to be taken. Had I done the proper research to find out what the actual cost would have been (not just a cursory search for “how easy is it”), I wouldn’t have been so flabbergasted. But I didn’t. So now I’m telling you.
I paid the total, skipped the plastic card, took back my driver’s license and left feeling pretty stupid. Then I bought a ton of weed and enjoyed some of the best medical cannabis California could offer. Honestly, it wasn’t half bad. Just know what you’re getting yourself into.