California's Medical Marijuana Maze

| Tue Oct. 12, 2010 1:21 PM EDT

Josh Harkinson tests out California's Byzantine medical marijuana bureaucracy:

Soon enough, I found Price-Less Evaluations, "the most trusted medical marijuana evaluation center in San Francisco"....The receptionist led me back into a hallway, where I saw a stooped, white-haired man in a rumpled pullover — the doctor. "Come on in," he mumbled. I stepped into an office and sat down at the edge of his desk. "So, can cannabis help you in some ways?" he asked, pen poised over a recommendation form. "I think so, yeah," I replied, trying to sound confident.

"So how does it help you?" he asked as the ink dried. "Well," I offered, "I have periodic pain from typing a lot, and in my lower back, and it could help me with that." He smiled. "Good. It's signed right there." The entire conversation had taken less than 90 seconds.

On my way out, I paid the $70 evaluation fee in cash and forked over another $20 for a wallet-sized "patient identification card" — carte blanche to buy pot from one of California's 1,000 medical marijuana dispensaries.

Apparently the time it took to google this up was the most arduous part of the whole experience.

UPDATE: Just in case anyone didn't get it, "Byzantine bureaucracy" was just a little joke.

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